The back crawl is a swimming technique commonly referred to by the name back stroke. It is the swimming technique which allows to move at the fastest speed while in a backward motion. It is the only standard technique approved by Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) for moving backwards. A similar technique which makes use of back stroke is the ‘upside down butterfly’. In this form of butterfly technique, both hands move together unlike the alternating motion of back stroke. Let us understand more about back crawl, one of the basic swimming strokes through this article.
Technique for Back Crawl Swimming
The breast stroke also is one of the important swimming techniques along with the backstroke, front crawl and freestyle. In back crawl swimming, the swimmer faces the side of swimming pool. One should hold on to the sides with both hands. Legs need to be bent at the knees and curled up. The feet have to be placed on the side wall.
The swimmer should start the back crawl movement by thrusting the body into the water and keeping it parallel to the surface. The head should be submerged in water up to the level that reaches corners of eyes.
The first few meters should be covered without moving the hands. A flutter kick helps in covering this short distance after which the back crawl swimming strokes need to be used. The flutter kick is performed without bending knees.
The arm strokes are divided into two phases i.e. the power phase and recovery phase. The power phase in turn is formed of ‘catch’ and ‘mid-pull’ phase. Let us understand more about these phases through following instructions.
At the beginning of power phase, arms need to be kept at the side of our body. The movement is initiated by raising one of the arms and taking it behind until you touch the water surface; the little finger/pinky should first touch the water surface.
Hand needs to be pushed forward with a cupped palm. As the hand is thrust forward, it takes a semi-circular path; this movement gets completed when palm reaches the side of the body. This whole activity is known as the catch phase.
Mid-pull phase is the latter part/second half of power phase. In the mid-pull phase, arm is pushed downward in the water. The mid-pull phase ends at the point when palm reaches a depth of 45 cm in the water. The power phase is followed by the recovery phase.
In the recovery phase, hand is pulled above the water surface with fingers pointing upwards. Path of movement of arm in the recovery phase is semi-circular. At the end of recovery phase the arm is submerged in water from where the power phase begins.
Movement of arms in the backstroke swimming technique resembles that of a windmill; the arms are rotated alternately. During the alternating movement of arms, one is above surface of water, while the other is under water; it means that one hand is in the power phase and other in recovery phase.
Back Crawl Swimming Tips
There a few key points which need to be kept in mind for moving with ease in water. Let us have a look at these tips one-by-one.
The body should be kept firm while swimming as it helps in moving with speed. Drag experienced by the body increases if it sinks too much in water. It is therefore, necessary to keep the body straight.
The use of proper breathing technique holds great importance in the swimming activity. One should breathe in through the mouth; while breathing out, both the mouth and nose have to be used. Recovery phase of one of the arms is the time at which one should breath in. One has breath out when this arm exits the recovery phase and enters the power phase.
The number of kicks per arm cycle ranges from 2-6. Movement of legs in a flutter should be conducted in a manner that the surface of water is churned. Splashing the water by raising the legs too high is not recommended; in short, the leg movement should be carried out smoothly.
In back crawl swimming, one cannot see the direction in which he is heading towards; therefore, it becomes difficult to decide when to turn. The solution to this problem is counting the arm strokes required to complete a single lap.
Balancing the movement of arm strokes with that of flutter kicks is an important aspect of back stroke swimming. The breathing technique described in the article above should prove to useful from the point of increasing the stamina. The process of learning the back crawl swimming technique should become a bit easier with all the instructions presented above.