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How to improve my 50m breaststroke time?

QUESTION:

Hello Gary

My name is Sam and I am from this cold place called Ontario in Canada.

I am a high school Breaststroker and I need to drop 1.4 seconds in 2 and a half months in 50m breaststroke short course to get a school record and make it to provincial A final.
I go a 37.15 right now and my stroke looks very much like Kosuke Kitajima (gold medallist in 2004 Olympics).  My hands go out of the water and it almost looks like I’m clapping.
I experimented with different types of pull styles and they where all the same time (Have not experimented with it in a swim meet)
I’m 6 foot 1 and about 140 pounds and my breaststroke kick is faster then my freestyle kick.
My dive in pull out gets me to half way in about 5 seconds and my 2nd turn gets me about 1/3 the way.
How can I go faster in the 50 at the end of each race I feel like I have way more to give but I don’t know how my 100 split is about the same time as my 50.

Do you have any ideas?
It would mean a lot thanks.

Sam

ANSWER:

Hi Sam,

I have seen many swimmers over the years swim the same time for the 50m breaststroke in the first 50 of a 100m race as they do for their 50m race.  This is often because the swimmer tries too hard and tightens up when just swimming a 50, rather than keeping their stroke strong and fluid.

There are two key elements to swimming any stroke quickly and these are both very relevant to breaststroke.

The first is that you need to generate lots of power with both the arms and the legs when swimming breaststroke.  To do this, make sure you get a good catch under water and then accelerate your arms on the in-sweep to generate forward propulsion and then recover them forward quickly.  With your kick, accelerate  your feet backwards so that you drive your body forwards.

The second key thing to do is to reduce your resistance. Even though breaststroke generates the most power it is the slowest stroke because it creates the most resistance. With an underwater arm recovery and leg recovery, there are more resistive forces than any other stroke.  For this reason, getting your timing of arms and breathing and leg kick right will help you to reduce resistance.  Your coach will be able to help you with this.

If anyone else has ideas to help Sam, please leave your comments below.

Cheers

Gary

The Swimming Expert

 

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4 Responses to How to improve my 50m breaststroke time?

  1. Michael Burrows January 20, 2015 at 10:59 pm #

    Glide variation times in training sessions – count 1000 or 1000, 2000, or 1000, 2000,3000 etc

    Count kicks per lap, attempting to reduce by one kick on the return – an awareness of strengthening your kick will develop. Fast vs strong there will be a balance!

    Keep ears level with your arms when gliding (streamlining)

    Change and or perfect your sculling action with new drills.

    Play with your glide times over 1st and second 50m in an attempt to optimise your efficiency.

    Do some sharp 25m sprint sets to help break your mould (comfort zone) once warmed up.

    New/Alternate stretches, squats, front & reverse pull-ups on pool edge for added strength.

    The fastest movement you will do in swimming is the dive – work it! – especially for the front 50 time. Re-work your touch turn for less resistance, strength and timing.

    Change what you are doing for a different result.Good Luck!

    Cheers
    Michael

    • Gary January 21, 2015 at 10:02 am #

      Thanks Michael, some great suggestions.
      Cheers
      Gary

      • Sam March 25, 2015 at 3:26 pm #

        I just wanted to say thanks for the tips and it worked my turn was slow….. i got the record thanks again for the help!

        • Gary March 25, 2015 at 8:26 pm #

          Congratulations Sam, well done.