What Stroke is Used In a Triathlon?

triathlon swimming

Whenever I talk with one of my runners or someone who would like to compete in a triathlon for the first time, the question asked most is what stroke can I use in a triathlon.

Triathlon Swimming

There are four main strokes as part of swimming:

  • Front Crawl or what we call Freestyle
  • Breaststroke
  • Backstroke
  • Butterfly

You can use any of these strokes in a triathlon according to USA Triathlon. However, the most efficient and fastest stroke is the freestyle.

How to do a Freestyle Stroke

There are a few things that you need to keep in mind when you are swimming freestyle (or free). Here’s a list.

  • Your legs should be straight. Don’t kick with the knee, kick from the hips, and do small flutters with your feet.
  • Your body should be relaxed but in an aero position. If you can float without sinking you are doing it right!
  • Your arms and upper back are important here. As you enter the water, allow your fingertips to come in first followed by your arm. Reach as you enter the water and then swoop your forearm to feel as if you are pulling a barrel underwater. Make sure your elbows are high underwater.
  • Breathe after every other stroke or every third stroke on either side for bilateral breathing. (I prefer one side.)

There are lots of great videos on how to do this stroke effectively. I like Olympian, Nina Saudakas’ webinar for WeREndurance where she breaks down the stroke. You can see it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yExtSTaDf_M&t=2364s

Please leave your thoughts or comments below…