Breaststroke is a swimming style in which the swimmer swims on chest, and the torso isn’t rotated. The style is extremely popular for recreation due to its stability and the provision to keep the head out of water for a greater portion of time. However, it requires more endurance and leg strength and is therefore considered to be one of the most difficult strokes in competitive swimming.
Eight common distances are swum in competitive breaststroke swimming, which includes four each for yards and meters. Sometimes, other distances like 400 y breaststroke are also swum on an unofficial basis in some college dual meets. United States commonly employs 25 yard pools which are used for high school, age group and college competitions during winter.
25 yard pool distances
- 25 y Breaststroke – for age group and club swimming for children (10 and below)
- 50 y Breaststroke – for age group swimming for children (12 and below)
- 100 y Breaststroke
- 200 y Breaststroke
25 meter or 50 meter pool distances
- 25 m Breaststroke – for age group and club swimming for children (10 and below)
- 50 m Breaststroke
- 100 m Breaststroke
- 200 m Breaststroke
For medley relay, the following distances are employed:
- 100 y Individual Medley
- 200 y Individual Medley
- 400 y Individual Medley
- 4 x 100 y Medley Relay
- 100 m Individual Medley
- 200 m Individual Medley
- 400 m Individual Medley
- 4 x 100 m Medley Relay
Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA) presents a set of official rules that apply to swimmers during official swimming competitions.
1. From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and after each turn, the body shall be kept on the breast. It is not permitted to roll onto the back at any time. Throughout the race the stroke cycle must be one arm stroke and one leg kick in that order.
2. All movements of the arms shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without alternating movement.
3. The hands shall be pushed forward together from the breast on, under, or over the water. The elbows shall be under water except for the final stroke before the turn, during the turn and for the final stroke at the finish. The hands shall be brought back on or under the surface of the water. The hands shall not be brought back beyond the hip line, except during the first stroke after the start and each turn.
4. During each complete cycle, some part of the swimmer's head shall break the surface of the water. After the start and after each turn, the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs. The head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke. A single downward dolphin kick followed by a breaststroke kick is permitted while wholly submerged. Following which, all movements of the legs shall be simultaneous and in the same horizontal plane without alternating movement.
5. The feet must be turned outwards during the propulsive part of the kick. A scissors, flutter or downward dolphin kick is not permitted except as in SW 7.4. Breaking the surface of the water with the feet is allowed unless followed by a downward dolphin kick.
6. At each turn and at the finish of the race, the touch shall be made with both hands simultaneously at, above, or below the water level. The head may be submerged after the last arm pull prior to the touch, provided it breaks the surface of the water at some point during the last complete or incomplete cycle preceding the touch.