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plee12 07-19-2011 01:47 AM

Backstroke Count Stuck at 20

I've been following TI's method religiously for all my strokes. As a result, my stroke count for freestyle with a 2-beat kick is now down to 16 (in a 25-yard pool). Ideally, I would like to get it down to 14, but for now, it's good enough for me.

However, my stroke count for backstroke with a 2-beat kick is stuck at 20, no matter what I do. In freestyle, I can really feel the glide phase, which helps to reduce the stroke count. But in backstroke, I don't seem to feel much of a glide phase. Looking at other forum posts, the consensus seems to be that it's perfectly normal not to have much of a glide for backstroke. If that's the case, how do good swimmers manage to achieve the same stroke count for both freestyle and backstroke?

Can anyone please explain this paradox?

Thank you,


daveblt 07-19-2011 02:07 AM

When comparing freestyle to backstroke stroke counts ,usually the freestyle count is 1 or 2 strokes less. For instance I usually do 25 yd freestyle in 12 strokes and backstroke in 13 . Have you tried swimming backstroke with the technique of letting your hand that's about to pull be patient and not pull until the recovery hand is about 30 degrees over the water to see what it does to your stroke count ?


plee12 07-19-2011 03:00 AM

Hello Dave,

Thanks for the prompt reply.

When you say 30 degrees, do you mean 30 degrees measured from the point of exit of the recovery hand, or do you mean 30 degrees measured from the point of entry of the recovery hand?

If it's the former, I'm pretty sure I'm doing that already.

Thank you,


daveblt 07-19-2011 03:37 AM

30 degrees from the point of exit from the water of the recovery hand .


plee12 07-19-2011 06:45 AM


If it's 30 degrees from the point of exit from the water of the recovery hand, then I've been doing that all along. So, my problem must lie somewhere else.

You say that in your case, you take just one extra stroke for backstroke than freestyle. Since there's so much more glide in the freestyle and so little glide in backstroke, it's hard to believe that the glide in freestyle ends up reducing your stroke count by only one relative to backstroke. It seems to me the differential should be a lot more than one stroke.

In my case, my stroke differential is 4 strokes (16 freestyle and 20 backstroke). Could it be it's because I'm using a 2-beat kick for backstroke?
Does the standard 6-beat backstroke kick contribute significantly to reducing the stroke count?

I tried doing the exercise of alternately pulling on the right side and then on the left side and deliberately inserting two kicks between switching from one side to the other side in order to simulate the "glide" phase. Doing this uses up 14 strokes already. If I eliminate the two kicks between switching sides (the "glide") and alternately pull on the right and left sides continuously, my stroke count increases by 6 for a total of 20.

So, I can't figure out whether my high stroke count is due to insufficient glide or something else.

Thank you,


dzhou01 07-19-2011 05:23 PM


Can you explain a little bit how you do 2 beat kick in backstroke? How do hands and legs coordinate? I can do 2 beat kick in freestyle, but want to learn for backstroke too.


Richardsk 07-19-2011 05:42 PM

I think the best way to learn a two-beat in backstroke would be to start with a very small six-beat and gradually eliminate beats 2 and 3 and 5 and 6. The timing of the arms should take care of itself, I think.

Another way would be to use a dolphin kick, with the up beat on each hand entry.

Trying to swim with no kick at all might also be helpful.

Any other suggestions?

plee12 07-19-2011 07:25 PM

Hello Dzhou01,

The way I learned the 2-beat kick is by watching this terrific slow motion video:

I needed to watch the video many many times until I finally got it. It's hard to describe it verbally. Give it a try first.


daveblt 07-20-2011 02:09 AM

Believe it or not for the stroke count I mentioned, I swim backstroke by letting my legs just follow along with my body roll so I'm not sure how you would describe it but it's probably something like a two beat .I never even really tried to do a six beat and I think if I were to try to coordinate a six beat it would take my focus off other aspects of the stroke .


plee12 07-20-2011 07:04 AM


It looks like you're already doing a 2-beat kick.

By the way, I went to the pool today and tried something different. Instead of making two big kicks (to simulate the glide phase) between switching from one side to the other, I decided to glide by eliminating the kicks or kick very little. To my surprise, I was able to reduce the stroke count to 16 without any problem! I guess the two big kicks I was doing before were creating so much drag that it increased the stroke count. Now my backstroke stroke count exactly matches my freestyle stroke count, which makes me a happy camper. :-) I don't know if gliding this way is considered cheating, but I'm satisfied for now.

Mission accomplished!

Thanks everyone for your help

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