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Underwater Pullout Teaching Progression
The Rule

When you teach the breaststroke underwater pullout, it’s important to know the rules that apply to your swimmer. And it’s important to know that the rules may change from time to time. As of the publication of this video, the rule you need to know is that “From the beginning of the first arm stroke after the start and after each turn, the body shall be on the breast.”

What this means for the swimmer is that she can push off slightly on her side, but when she initiates the first stroke – which is the pulldown – she needs to be flat on her stomach before the pull begins.

The second rule to know is that…”After the start and after each turn, the swimmer may take one arm stroke completely back to the legs during which the swimmer may be submerged. A single butterfly kick is permitted during the first arm stroke, followed by a breaststroke kick.”

This is where there is room for variation, and in this chapter we’ll present three variations for your swimmer to try.

The third rule to know when teaching the breaststroke pullout is that…”The head must break the surface of the water before the hands turn inward at the widest part of the second stroke.”

The first arm stroke begins with the separation of the hands.

A pause after the separation of the hands is not a violation of the rule.

This interpretation requires observable separation to initiate the arm pull. No other action will initiate the arm pull.

This interpretation requires ADDITIONAL separation if the swimmer starts or leaves the wall after a turn with the hands already separated.

When teaching the underwater pullout, I follow a 5-step progression, starting with streamline.

Then the pull down…

Then recovery of the hands...the sneak…

Then adding the kick…

Then the breakout…

I have 3 different timing styles for the dolphin kick for your swimmers to try.

1. Placing the dolphin kick near the end of the pullout. The kick snaps down as the arms are finishing.

2. Placing the dolphin kick when the swimmer’s arms are paused in “Position 11.”

3. Setting up the legs for a dolphin kick as the arms press to “11,” then delivering the downward dolphin kick just as the hands start to pull back. There’s not much pause in any of these steps.