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A lot of great backstrokers will tell you that the kick drives their stroke. But for me, backstroke is just one part of an IM race and not the main event.

In the IM, a big, powerful kick would cost me too much energy, so I think a smaller, tighter backstroke kick is the way to go.

I keep the kick small and quick and steady. The toes are always pointed -- and I let my feet flow with my hips and body rotation.

Instead of kicking straight up and down, the feet roll from side to side, following right along with the rotation of the hips.