SwimSwam Pulse: 50% Say Breaststroke Is Most Different From SC to LC

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers which stroke changes the most from long course to short course:


Question: Which stroke is the most different between long course and short course?

  • Breaststroke – 50.7%
  • Butterfly – 24.6%
  • Backstroke – 19.6%
  • Freestyle – 5.1%

More than half of voters said breaststroke changed the most between long and short course, with butterfly a distant second.

The two ‘short-axis’ strokes accounted for about three-quarters of the total votes. In both breaststroke and butterfly, momentum stops and starts a lot more often, with more defined power and glide phases. That can make the middle of a long course pool feel awfully long, especially when momentum starts to dip, and a swimmer’s hips start to sink in between power phases.

What probably made breaststroke stand out most, though, was the underwater pullouts. For a good breaststroker, a short course race features a lot of time underwater – in fact, a swimmer with great pullouts can often spend more than 15-meters underwater, especially off the start. The long course race is a drastically different ratio of strokes-to-underwater-pullouts.

Backstroke came in at 19.6%, just a tick behind butterfly. Meanwhile freestyle finished far behind in this poll, rated as the stroke most similar between short course and long course racing.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters to predict the 2020 SEC Champions on the women’s side:

Who will win the 2020 Women's SEC title?

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner

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Ok we have something here’, now as a coach swimmer, I find looking under water to gain more out of your kick.
If you train all strks for a long length of time the whole body performs at excellence.
Conditioning .


I understand why some chose fly over back, but I personally think back should be second and actually close to breast for first. The under waters obviously make a huge difference as they do on every stroke, but sprinting backstroke kick for at least thirty five meters per fifty is exhausting, compared to just five to ten meters in short course. The pain you feel in your quads on a 200 back long course is enough to easily earn second place in my opinion.


In addition, underwater kicking is more important for backstroke than for butterfly or freestyle. In short course, one can more easily get by with an inefficient backstroke technique than an inefficient butterfly or inefficient freestyle technique.

People with fantastic underwaters, like people who swim the 100 fly / 100 back double at NCAAs, tend to be better at long course fly than long course back.

Too cool for the pool

Alabama should be on there yes?

I Never Saw A Lady Before

You are on another planet, yes?

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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