Breaststroke Efficiency 101 - Anton Chupkov
Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Efficiency is important in all 4 strokes, being able to move as far and fast as possible with the least amount of energy expenditure. In breaststroke, given its un-streamlined nature, efficiency is king. Making the most out of every movement will make a huge difference at every level, whether you are an age group swimmer doing your first 200 breast or even at the top level, efficiency matters.
In this blog post, we are going to look at Anton Chupkov, how he swims breaststroke technically and how this plays into the way he swims his races tactically.
The key principle of efficiency within Chupkov's stroke is about streamlining his body line. I have annotated some freeze frames of his 200m breaststroke race from the 2018 European Championships. As you scroll through the slides below pay attention to the following things;
- Start of stroke: How tight he is through his body line
How wide his out-scull is, allowing him to pull as much water as possible when he starts his propulsive phase.
How he keeps his legs tight together, maintaining his body line as much as possible to minimise resistance.
How he gets his arms into the strongest position possible, fingers down and elbows high.
Even during the in-sweep how he maintains his body line with the legs together.
- Recovery: Notice how in both the recovery of his arms and his feet he is super narrow, minimising resistance as much as possible.
- Kick: During his kick, Chupkov keeps the front end of his body in as much a streamlined position as possible, just like he did with his legs during the pull.
-End of stroke: The end of his stroke is so similar to the start of his stroke, body in tight streamline, no added resistance - this is only possible because he finishes his kick well, connecting the feet.
The way Chupkov swims the stroke is quite distinct, an almost extreme separation of the pull and the kick. Personally, I like this, it allows him to focus on getting the most out of each part of the stroke. Below I am going to look at the way he swims his 200m breaststroke tactically and how his stroke impacts this.
The table above shows the breakdown of Chupkov's swim from the 2017 World Championships. The big talking point for me is the focus on staying as controlled as possible during the 1st 100m, with 11 and 12 strokes per 50m respectively. Then during the 2nd 100m, Chupkov increases his stroke count and seems to push through the field. In my opinion he can only do this because he is so efficient through the 1st 100m, allowing him to carry as much speed as possible through a low stroke count. This leaves him with reserves for the 2nd 100m to start to wind up his stroke a little more within the same technical model above.
I hope this article has been thought provoking for you to read, please leave some comments below or on social media using the #letstalkcoaching don't forget to @thepoolsidepass on social media.