Pro triathlete Tim Reed: “Why to swim alternative strokes to freestyle”

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Freestyle may be the answer if you want to get from A to B in the fastest way, and by swimming, but there are other fun swim strokes to master: the breaststroke, the backstroke, and the butterfly. There are many reasons as to why a triathlete shouldn’t lose these out of sight, pro triathlete Tim Reed believes. These strokes should be part of a good swim training program, even if you swim only freestyle in races.

“Firstly, the alternative stokes to freestyle will greatly compliment your freestyle”, he explains. “Yes: more than training freestyle exclusively.”

Reed explains per stroke why a triathlete should make it part of his training program. He kicks off with the breaststroke. “Superb for developing your freestyle catch”, Reed states. “If breaststroke kick hurts your knees, just do butterfly or freestyle kick and stick with it.”

“The backstroke is a delicious antidote to the rolled forward and slumped shoulders that can occur from all the freestyle and cycling”, he continues. “Works the push phase of free well while the kick is primarily driven by the glutes, muscles we always want firing well, while opening up the hip-flexors.”

Finally, there is the butterfly stroke. Difficult to perform, but worth a bit of struggling in the beginning, according to Reed. “Butterfly: it needs to be implemented with a bit more caution, but for athletes who have the flexibility and fitness to do it safely, it’s a phenomenal core workout while also helps improve the freestyle catch.”