4 Types of Swim Strokes You’ll See at the 2024 Summer Olympics

Getty / Al Bello / Staff

There’s no doubt swimming is one of the most exciting events at the Summer Olympics. But while tuning in to see who will take home the gold, do you ever wonder exactly what you’re watching, particularly when it comes types of swim strokes? Sure, the freestyle seems pretty straightforward, but which muscles are challenged to execute the stroke perfectly? How is the butterfly different from the breaststroke? And what on earth is the individual medley?

No worries, there’s still plenty of time to brush up on your swimming vocabulary when it comes to types of swim strokes. Ahead, Jennifer Latchford, former swim instructor for the Bergen Barracudas and the Goldfish Swim School breaks down every stroke. Now you can watch these edge-of-your-seat events at the Paris Games like a true fan. Keep reading for the details!

Types of Swim Strokes

At the Olympics, you’ll see the four primary types of swim strokes: butterfly, freestyle, backstroke, and breastroke. Then, there’s a medley, which showcases all four strokes in a single race.

  • Butterfly stroke
  • Freestyle stroke
  • Backstroke
  • Breaststroke
  • Medley (individual and relay)

Keep reading to learn more about each stroke and how they’re swam, plus which muscles are worked.

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