How To Swim: Learning Different Swimming Techniques For Beginners

NOV 27 2023

A kid with goggles on learning to swim in the pool

Learning how to swim can be daunting. Your child may lack confidence in the pool or feel nervous joining a class for the first time. Or they might be worried about the challenge of learning new swimming techniques. Don’t worry – every swimmer has been through this at some point while learning to swim.

Luckily, a bit of know-how does wonders when it comes to pool confidence. The more swimming techniques you learn, the easier it becomes! The best way to ensure your child learns the main swimming stokes is with kids swimming lessons. At Kingswim, we offer a range of swimming programs to help children learn the basics as well refine their skills and become swimming experts.

So if you’re looking for some swimming tips to help you or your child better understand the main swimming stokes, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we outline the different swimming techniques including freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke. We also provide useful tips to help you with these strokes so you can feel more confident in the pool.


What Are The Different Swimming Techniques?

There are several different swimming techniques that you will learn throughout your learn to swim journey. The main strokes are freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke.

If you want to swim competitively, being able to perform different swimming techniques is essential for taking part in multiple events. If you’re swimming primarily for fun and fitness, knowing the main strokes is still useful. They all work different muscle groups, so mixing it up is a great way to maximise your workout. Plus, swimming in different ways makes your time the pool more fun and interesting.

New swimmers often start with the freestyle swimming technique before moving on to more advanced strokes like the butterfly. But whatever stage your child is at, Kingswim has a swimming program to suit their ability. Keep reading for our tips on mastering the different swimming techniques.

Freestyle Swimming Technique

Freestyle (also known as front crawl) is a great technique for beginners so it’s likely to be one of the first strokes you learn. It’s also the fastest stroke, which is why most competitive swimmers use it in freestyle events.

So, how do you swim freestyle? Lie on your stomach and push yourself forwards with alternating arm movements. Keep your legs straight (not bent at the knee) and use a flutter kick to propel your body through the water.

One tip for the freestyle swimming technique is to look down rather than ahead. If you look ahead, your head is raised and your hips sink lower than the rest of your body. This means you have to kick harder to stay afloat and progress forward, which can tire you out and might give you a sore neck.

Another tip is to avoid lifting your head up to breathe because this will also make your hips drop. Instead, roll to the side with the stroke and lift your mouth slightly out of the water (enough to breathe, but no more).

Breaststroke Swimming Technique

Breaststroke is also a great technique for beginners to learn. Unlike freestyle, it’s a slower swimming stroke and does not require you to put your head underwater.

When doing the breaststroke swimming technique, lie on your stomach and move your legs and arms in an outward circular motion before coming back together – just like a frog!

An important tip for breaststroke is to match your arm stroke and leg movements so that your arms rest while your legs kick. Then, straighten your legs while your arms push forward. This will propel your body through the water much more effectively because there will always be a forward movement.

Butterfly Swimming Technique

Butterfly is a challenging technique which can be tricky to learn. Because of this, you’ll encounter this swimming stroke when you’re further along in your learn to swim journey. However, don’t be feel put off. When you’re ready, you’ll find that it’s really fun to learn!

To execute the butterfly stroke, lie on your stomach and bring both of your arms over your head at the same time. Push them into the water to propel yourself forward, while pushing your head and shoulders above the water. Keep your legs together as you kick, similar to how a dolphin moves through the water. Repeat this technique and you’ll be swimming the butterfly.

A good tip for this stroke is to breathe just as you lift your arms out of the water. Don’t turn your head from side to side. Instead, look straight ahead in front of you as you swim.

Backstroke Swimming Technique

Backstroke is one of the first strokes we teach because there’s no complex breathing technique to learn. It’s also a great low impact stroke that uses different muscles to forward facing strokes. Despite the many benefits, it can be nerve-wracking doing this stroke for the first time – mainly because you can’t see where you’re swimming! However, with these backstroke swimming tips, you’ll quickly get to grips with the technique.

Firstly, maintain a streamlined body position. Lie flat on your back and look upwards with your face above the water. Your body should be parallel with the surface of the water with your legs pointed slightly downwards. Be careful not to look down at your feet or tilt your head backwards as this can make your hips drop lower in the water. As with the freestyle stroke, this impacts the efficiency of the stroke and slows you down. If you look upwards, it’s also easier to know where you’re going.

Your arms should move in a continuous, alternating stroke with one arm providing propulsion under the water while the other recovers over the water. As for the hands, lead with your thumb as your arm comes out of the water. Your little finger should enter the water first with your arm straight and palm facing outwards.

What about your legs? The backstroke kick uses a flutter kick, just like the freestyle stroke. Keeping the kicks small works best. You can always use a kickboard to help you get it right.

Another good tip for the backstroke technique is to look around you for markers that show how far along in the pool you’ve travelled, such as on the ceiling or flags. Also, if you’re sharing the lane with other swimmers, keep close the lane ropes to guide you. When you know you’re close to the end of your lane, you can slow down and stretch your arms out so there’s no chance of you hitting your head.

Kingswim’s Swimming Lessons to Help You

Kingswim runs swimming programs to suit all abilities. Below, we cover what techniques are taught in our different lessons.

In the Foundation level (our classes for babies from 12 weeks to 3 years), kids learn to become comfortable in the water. They will learn skills such as putting their face in the water as well as floating, kicking and paddling on their own.

In our Independent level (for kids ready to enter the pool without their parents), kids learn how to maintain basic body position in the water, how to kick, do a front overarm stroke, back kick with scull, backstroke and freestyle breathing.

The next stage is the Competent level of swimming lessons where kids learn strokes like breaststroke, freestyle, plus water survival.

Beyond that, the Graduate level teaches more advanced stroke and technique including butterfly, endurance (swimming greater lengths without stopping), and water survival in clothes.


Begin Your Swimming Journey Today!

We hope you now feel more familiar with the different swimming techniques! If you want to put your new knowledge into practise and learn how to swim the different strokes, why not check out our swimming lessons? Kingswim have multiple swim schools in Australia, including Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane and Sydney.

Find a location near you and contact us today get started.

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