Medley... Medley... Medley...

Medley... Medley... Medley...


In the words of Mutley the dog, Medley... Medley... Medley... and he knew a bit about swimming. If you haven't come from a swim club background, you probably have a single favoured stroke. Most people either swim front crawl or breaststroke only. But this summer, to help your fitness, mobility and strength, why not make a conscious effort to try all of the strokes? Aside from all the physical benefits, it also makes things more interesting and adds new challenges, which in turn helps with motivation. 

Breaststroke benefits:

Breaststroke is a 'strength' stroke. You're pretty much relying upon your upper body strength to pull yourself forwards. The breaststroke action very much replicates front crawl 'catch' so it's a great way to develop strength at the 'front of the stroke'. This is even more important for rough open water swimmers who rely more on force than finesse. If you need to develop your upper body strength, then breaststroke is a good place to start. 

Backstroke benefits:

Backstroke is good for balance in the water and helps with both shoulder mobility. When you are swimming front crawl, as you kick DOWN and this lifts your legs UP. Backstroke works the opposite way, the propulsive part of the kick is as you kick UP which means that the water is pushing your legs DOWN. Kicking on your back makes it more difficult to keep your legs up at the surface and you have to work really hard to maintain a balanced position in the water, much more so than kicking on your front.

There is one other thing about backstroke, you spend a lot of time struggling to breathe, swallowing and coughing up water in your mouth. I think this actually makes you more comfortable when swimming in open water. I've seen a lot of open water swimmers panic and stop because they swallow water as they turn to breathe, it happens all the time when you swim backstroke, you'll get over it.

If you initially struggle with backstroke, then use swimming fins. It makes it much easier and it also means you have to work a lot harder to maintain a balanced / high leg position.

Butterfly benefits:

OK... this is the tricky one. Butterfly requires exceptional strength and fitness, it also requires a certain amount of shoulder mobility which you may not have. Butterfly kick is incredibly beneficial for core strength and balance in the water, so use you fins, keep your knees and feet together and work on the butterfly kick. The arm action is a bit more difficult and lifting yourself out of the water can be exhausting.

If you struggle with shoulder mobility, then try single arm butterfly. Leave one hand extended out in front of you and swim only with the other arm, whilst using butterfly leg kick. 

I know that many of you will read this article and whilst there may be something which grabs your interest, you'll choose to keep swimming front crawl or breaststroke only. Make it your mission this week to add some Medley, mix it up a little. I promise you'll come out of the pool much more tired than you normally do, which is NEVER a bad thing. Medley... Medley... Medley...

Join our open water swim sessions

We deliver an open water swim session every Wednesday & Saturday from April 17th. The location is perfect for novices and you can swim in skins or wetsuit. To read more and register GO HERE

We also offer 1-2-1 coached lessons, for more info email 

Need a new wetsuit or buying your first?

We've got a range of wetsuits in store and a huge amount of experience! If you're buying from us, you're welcome to try them on and we can ensure you get the perfect size and fit. We're based just off junction 27M6, in Wrightington, Lancashire. Call us on 01257 251217.

The Endurance Store