Rebecca Soni Breaststroke Analaysis



With Rebecca Soni dominating the 200m breaststroke at the London Olympic Games, I thought it was a good idea to take a look at her stroke. If you want to improve your breaststoke then Soni is great to learn from. Soni’s stroke is quite different to other breaststrokers, especially with the arms. She has doesn’t have a stong insweep with her elbows like most of the other athletes.

In this video by ESPN’s Sports Science it looks at the forces she can generate with both the arms and the legs. Breaststroke is a battle between generating large amounts of force on the water and reducing the amount of resistance generated. It is the slowest stroke because it creates the most amount of resistance therefore requires great technique.

Breaststroke is unique from other strokes as up to 80% of the propulsion comes from the legs rather than the arms. Soni is able to generate 100 lbs of force each kick. As the body moves through the water it creates resistance in the form of wave drag. Each time she kicks, she moves out of a streamlined position and increases the amount of drag. It is therefore important for her to return to a streamlined position as quickly as possible. This helps her reduce the amount of wave drag generated. Keeping the body in a horizontal position also helps with this.

Reducing the cross sectional area she has against the water is an important factor in reducing drag. This is the same as a downhill skier or cyclist crouching down to reduce air resistance. Soni is able to reduce her cross sectional area to 122 inches which enables her to pierce through the water.

Rebecca is also able to generate up to 24 lbs of peak force with every single arm stroke she takes. The key is how quickly she can begin generating that force. Most swimmers begin generating force 0.5 seconds into the stroke yet Soni is able to generate 40% of her force in 0.2 seconds.

The average swimmers force can vary up to 20% in each hand which can cause them to swim off course. Soni has an amazing variation of only 0.5% which means she is heading directly for the finish line. With her heading in a stright line, she is able to cover 5.25 ft with each stroke she takes which is 50% further than the average swimmer.

There is nobody better to learn off than the best. This video should help you get an idea of what the Olympic Champion does to make her so good.

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