Christine Illman’s breaststroke wisdom

We were privileged and excited to have Christine Illman coaching a packed pool yesterday evening at Bottisham.  Here are the main take-away points from her fabulous session:

  • At the start: A-pull, up, glide, kick.
  • Streamlining is essential for a fast breaststroke.  Your arms should point forwards with the palms facing slightly outwards, ready to catch the water.
  • Keep your head as still as you can throughout the stroke.  You can drop your chin slightly as your arms go forward, but too much head movement wastes time and energy.
  • Breathe when your arms are puling back under your shoulders.
  • A narrow kick is good propulsion.  80% of the forward movement in breaststroke comes from the legs. Your knees should not go out past the line of your shoulders on the kick.  Your heels should come right up to your bottom and your knees be as far back as possible.
  • Your feet should be turned out and should rotate during the stroke: you should make a circle with your feet.  The kick itself comes from the inside of the feet and the inside of the shin.
  • A good breaststroker can do 25m breaststroke in 8 strokes.
  • Everyone swims breaststroke differently.  You have to work out what adjustments make you faster.
  • If you’re serious about swimming, keep a training diary.  Write down after each session what you did, what went well, what didn’t go so well, and what you need to work on next time.

Christine has promised to come back and see how the breaststroke is going in a few months’ time.  We are looking forward to seeing her again.


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