Since I learned how to swim, I always tried to improve my stroke and feel the difference between different techniques. Once I felt how a good breakout should be like, I never forgot it. It is a game changer. The first few strokes are so fast that you immediately feel the difference between a good and a bad breakout.
When you swim, you reach top speed after pushing off the wall or after the start. If you want to swim faster you need to keep that speed for as long as you can. To do that you need a good transition to break the surface. We call this a break out. The break out is exactly that, when the body breaks the surface of the water. We will talk about backstroke and freestyle breakouts because they are very similar. There are several ways you can do this, so we will go over the most common mistakes and the best breakout position.
The best position to break the surface is almost horizontal. But by far the most common mistake is to come up when you are too deep in the water. This abrupt change in direction will slow you down. After you slow down it is practically imposible to get that top speed back. That is why you need to practice a good transition from underwater kicks to the stroke.
Another common mistake is to go up too high, most of the time to take a breath. This results in a bobbing motion that will slow you down. So try not to breathe on the first stroke.
In freestyle the challenging part is that you are not looking at the surface. So you need to know intuitively how deep you are in the water and how many kicks you need to do to go up to the surface without changing directions abruptly. There is no easy way of knowing this, it only comes with practice and a developed intuition. You can also use your peripheral view to better position yourself.
In backstroke, it’s a little bit easier since you will look at the surface at all times.
Ideally you did dolphin kicks to maintain the speed off the wall and to approach the surface at an almost horizontal position. Once you are close to the surface, you need to do three things.
One is to keep one arm where it is in the streamline position. Then, the second arm can start pulling. Thirdly, you need to change your dolphin kick to flutter kick as fast and smoothly as posible.
I can’t emphasize enough how important the breakouts are. you need to feel it for yourself, improve on them and watch the results. I guarantee you will be able to swim faster.
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