I’ve been a seasoned swimmer for around 6 years now, starting in a small community pool in zambia and moving up slowly to where I am today. With that being said, I have an exorbitant amount of swim knowledge, and today with all my experience in the sport I’m going to make a tier-list consisting of all 4 main strokes in competitive swim, ranked from best to worst.
I just had a meet today by the way, it was really hectic, but I did good and got first place in both my races (500 freestyle and 100 fly)
okay, now I need to make a disclaimer before I start the tier-list. There is no “worst” stroke. every stroke is overall well made and can be mastered with time, the “worst” stroke is what I consider the most technical stroke to learn and truly master, and the “best” stroke is what I consider to be the easiest and most accessible to swimmers of all varying levels of skill.
okay, starting off the list, this should be a no brainer but:
freestyle is the stroke that many new swimmers learn as the very first official stroke. it’s well, really easy, and chances are there are probably a good portion of forumers who can do this stroke fairly well. freestyle has a very solid and easy to grasp movement, and overall conserves momentum very well. the only major issue with this stroke most swimmers have is being too “rigid” and not stretching and twisting enough, but that fixes itself in time.
so yeah, overall, freestyle is objectively the best and easiest stroke to learn and master.
backstroke is really just freestyle with extra steps in my opinion. the commons issues with this stroke are not being able to swim in a straight line, not knowing stroke count before a flip-turn, and not even knowing how to flip-turn in backstroke. All of these issues however usually fix themselves in time, and some can be really easily fixed with a little practice.
this stroke also allows for much more oxygen intake since your face is away from water so therefore in my opinion it’s easier to go faster on races involving backstroke.
now we’re onto what are the “hard” strokes. Butterfly is notorious for being an incredibly physically demanding stroke that requires a very good core strength and arm strength. You also need stamina so you don’t absolutely collapse during something like a 100 fly on the 3rd lap. Unfortunately it’s not as easy to obtain these things, which is why butterfly is viewed as being super hard, but as for the stroke itself, it’s very easy to learn, and conserves momentum very nicely if pulled off correctly, this stroke really just needs you to be physically fit enough to pull it off, otherwise it’s similar to backstroke and freestyle in terms of mastery.
breastroke seems like an odd option for the worst competitive stroke at first, normally most people assume this stroke to be easy, but if not mastered correctly or underestimated, breast is one of the most brutal and unforgiving strokes to have to swim.
breastroke is the worst in my opinion mainly for the unique reason of how technical it is compared to the other 3 strokes. it looks like doesn’t demand nearly as much physical strength like butterfly, and it seems relatively easy at first glance like freestyle or backstroke, but that’s the illusion, breastroke actually does require very decent leg strength, and it is incredibly hard to learn properly, the reason is:
breaststroke requires the swimmer to “glide” between every breath, this sounds easy but it must be almost machine like precision, for the goal is to get as much glide as possible before needing another stroke. many swimmers make the fatal mistake (I did too) of assuming just like other strokes of how “more stroke and pull = faster”, but this doesn’t apply to breastroke. this trap is actually incredibly dangerous in a race because this can totally cause you to waste energy as well as ruin momentum, in fact, breastroke if done wrong can be even more physically straining than butterfly.
also like every stroke requires the swimmer to have their head in a very specific spot for maximum efficiency and always streamline every stroke and always make sure toes touch as well and there’s like a weird way that you have to pull and overall it just snowballs into this technical mess that requires immense practice to truly get a grasp on if you want to race effectively with this stroke.
so in the end, breast is the worst stroke due to the immense precision required to actually swim relatively well in a race, and freestyle is the easiest because yes.
So I’m gonna try and start a new habit (that I’ll admit I should have started a long time ago ) where I am really gonna try to cut down on the amount of forum posts I make and maybe normalize it to around like every few weeks.
in general though I am trying to just be on the forum less maybe and not be responding to 100 different topics in the time span of like 2 seconds, I realized I have a life and I really need to unironically start touching grass more, or just, enjoy being offline and living life, drawing, idk, playing dnd with my irl friends on saturdays.
so yeah, sandal grows up, wild huh? well, thanks for reading, and i hope you have a good evening/afternoon/morning/whatever else.