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Resting vs elementary backstoke

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  • Resting vs elementary backstoke

    I was looking at the difference between the swim test and the swimming merit badge. The swim test starts resting backstroke while the MB calls out elementary. So what is a resting backstroke? Is it just a slow overhand (back crawl) backstroke? Or do they have an option with the test to do either?

    Jump feetfirst into water over the head in depth. Level off and swim 75 yards in a strong manner using one or more of the following strokes: sidestroke, breaststroke, trudgen, or crawl; then swim 25 yards using an easy resting backstroke

    Swim continuously for 150 yards using the following strokes in good form and in a strong manner: front crawl or trudgen for 25 yards, back crawl for 25 yards, sidestroke for 25 yards, breaststroke for 25 yards, and elementary backstroke for 50 yards.

  • #2
    While not the expert on stroke definition, I believe they are intended to be more or less the same. The difference is that in the test, they will accept a "version" of backstroke that allows you to rest and float, but is not necessarily "classic" elementary back stroke. The MB requires actually mastering the elementary backstroke. At least that is my interpretation.


    • #3
      I would think that "resting backstroke" is just enough for the swimmer to stay floating and "resting" in position. But clearly they don't mean that if one is to swim 25 yards.


      • #4
        You are not the first one to have issues with this language. The "an" easy resting backstroke indicates that there is more than one option. I am unaware of any other than the elementary backstroke. So I like Skeptics's interpretation. My oldest hates that stroke and I love it for resting while distance swimming. I am fat and he is very, very thin. It is a very necessary skill to master however, because the inverted whip kick is essential when performing a rescue. I have seen some guards who will flutter, but for most it is to tiring to flutter with a rescue or the brick test.


        • #5
          A racing backstroke has the flying arms out of the water (my younger Scout races, and that is one of his strokes). You can watch Missy Franklin win the gold here with that stroke starting at the 4:00 mark on the video:

          An resting backstroke puts the arms at the side and is more gentle (and a DQ if you try to race that way). The arms don't even break out of the water, takes little energy, etc. You can see it here:

          Some sink because they don't hold their body right - I teach the cookie method. You have a cookie at your belly button, keep it dry. This gets the boys to keep their gut dry, and to stop bending their neck to keep look at their feet.


          • #6
            Okay, it's been 50 years since I took swimming classes but I did get lifesaving certification which means one doesn't really use the back strokes other than for resting.

            The way I learned it was the more powerful back stroke brought your alternating arms out of the water to reach as far forward before pulling down with a kick. Not a lifesaving stroke, so not well versed in it. Just knew about it from swim team people.

            The elementary back stroke is where the hands don't come out of the water and work in parallel. The second illustration Horizon puts out there.

            The resting back stroke was where one laid in the water "resting" while skulling (little figure 8's) easily with the hands at the side and occasionally flutter kicking to make a bit of forward movement. One didn't go very fast, if much movement at all, but one can keep that stroke up all day long, covering quite a distance eventually. One doesn't have to arch their back as much as if they tried to remain totally afloat on the back.

            When swimming our mile for the test, we would use this stroke a lot when we got tired.



            • #7
              A search on YouTube and watching some videos makes me think that elementary backstroke and resting backstroke are the same thing.