Competitive Backstroke vs. Elementary Backstroke

Last Updated on August 1st, 2023

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Competitive backstroke and elementary backstroke are similar only in name. Both of these swims are backstrokes, but otherwise, they differ completely. Both of these swimming techniques require different movements, timing, and physical demand.

The elementary backstroke is designed for beginners, while the competitive backstroke is designed for more skilled swimmers.

However, while they are so different from one another, it is because the elementary version is designed to be an introduction to competitive backstroke.

Because of this, there are pros and cons for which one you should learn and when. They require different things and have different advantages. Keep reading to find out more about elementary backstroke and competitive backstroke.

Woman doing backstrokes in a pool - Competitive Backstroke vs. Elementary Backstroke.

What are the Differences?

The key difference between competitive backstroke and elementary backstroke is their simplicity. Competitive backstroke is a much more complicated technique. It requires the arms to move separately. The legs make continuous kicking motions to propel you.

Because of this, competitive backstroke also uses a lot of stamina and muscle strength to do correctly. On the other hand, the elementary backstroke was designed to be simple and easy.

The arms and legs move at the same time in a similar motion. Its simplicity makes it much easier to learn and perform. It takes a lot less stamina and muscle strength as well.


Pros and Cons of Competitive Backstroke vs. Elementary Backstroke

Competitive backstroke and elementary backstroke were created with different goals in mind, making each have very different benefits and issues.


Competitive Backstroke Pros:


  • You swim quickly through the water.
  • You build a large amount of stamina and muscle strength doing this swim.


Competitive Backstroke Cons:


  • It is difficult to learn and perform correctly.
  • It is exhausting on the body if you are not used to it.


Elementary Backstroke Pros:


  • It is extremely easy to learn.
  • It takes little to no effort to perform, making it easy on the body.


Elementary Backstroke Cons:


  • It is a very slow stroke.


Which One Helps You Swim Faster

The competitive backstroke helps you swim much faster than the elementary backstroke. The competitive backstroke is designed for speed because it is used in competitions. In addition, the movement of the arms with the legs helps to minimize resistance.

The consistent kicks help to propel you forward quickly.

On the other hand, the elementary backstroke was not designed for speed. It was made to ease you into swimming on your back and to learn how to be more comfortable in the water. It was created to be comfortable and slow.


Which One is More Physically Demanding?

The competitive backstroke is much more physically demanding than the elementary backstroke. This is because the competitive backstroke was designed to be fast. Because of this, it requires a lot of physical demand.

The competitive backstroke is known for how physically demanding it is on the body. First, the arms move separately from each other. The legs must continuously kick to propel the body forward. Finally, you must keep your core activated to keep yourself flat and afloat.

The elementary backstroke is designed to be less physically demanding so that it can be taught to children. The arms and legs move at the same time in a simplistic movement. As a result, it takes much less strength and stamina.


Which One Can Beginners Learn Faster?

Beginners can learn the elementary backstroke much faster than the competitive backstroke. As the name dictates, the elementary backstroke is designed to be easy.

It is meant to be taught to young children or beginner swimmers. It is an introduction to swimming on your back.

The competitive backstroke is a complicated swimming technique. Everything moves separately, and it is very physically demanding.

The elementary backstroke simplifies all of that by having your body move everything at the same time. As a result, it is slow and easy, unlike its competitive version.


Final Thoughts on Competitive Backstroke Vs Elementary Backstroke

Comparing these two strokes requires an understanding of what you are looking for in a swim. Both of them are backstrokes, but each is designed with different needs in mind.

If you are looking for an easy technique that requires little physical demand, the elementary backstroke is for you. However, if you are looking for a stroke that will challenge you and get you through the water quickly, the competitive backstroke is what you should go with.

Each of these strokes is vastly different, but neither is better than the other. It all depends on your needs and abilities as to which one you should choose.