Freestyle and Breaststroke start: it is all a matter of angles!

Training & Technique
Written by: arena coaches at 1 January '13 0
You are reading: Freestyle and Breaststroke start: it is all a matter of angles!

Level: beginner

As we have already seen in previous articles, you dive off the blocks when making a freestyle or breaststroke start.

However, although they have this in common, there are also plenty of differences! Let’s analyse them together.


Once you are in the “ready” position on the starting block and have chosen your diving technique (grab-start or track-start) as we looked at in the article Presenting the Butterfly start, when you hear the command “go” or the starter’s gun, push off  powerfully using your legs with your toes pointed backwards and your arms extended in front of you. Bury your head between your shoulders and choose the right angle of entry.

For the freestyle it is approximately 40°.

Once you have entered the water, try to adopt a streamlined position, so that your body is as hydrodynamic as possible, exploiting the speed you have attained for about two seconds.

After that, make 3-4 fast butterfly leg kicks and come out of the water changing to a freestyle leg kick.

Here’s a piece of advice: try not to breathe during the first 2-3 strokes, so as not to slow down your forward propulsion.


When you hear the command “go” or starter’s gun, do exactly the same as for the freestyle start.

After hearing the start command, push forwards as before only slightly higher, so as to make a less acute angle of entry compared to the front craw, using your stomach muscles.

The correct angle of entry for the breaststroke is between 45°-48°, which allows you to descend deeper into the water.

Having attained the proper streamlining, perform one long two-handed stroke (your hands are extended in front of your head to begin with and then along your sites at the end), bend your elbows and move your hands forwards beneath your chest during the recovery phase and make a breaststroke leg kick.

As you begin to slow down, move your body forwards and towards the surface of the water during the pull and start swimming.

According to the technical regulations, you are entitled to make one butterfly leg kick at any moment during the underwater phase before the breaststroke leg kick; to hold on to as much of the speed you have attained through the dive as possible, I suggest making the leg kick before the long arm stroke.

Here is a piece of advice: do not practice your start at the end of a training session, but rather just after the beginning when you still have plenty of energy and your concentration is high. This will ensure you really improve.



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arena coaches

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