Mental Physical Technical Swimming


: Water Bottle Kick

Water Bottle Kick

29 Oct

Maintaining a shoulder-width distance or slightly wider than shoulder width distance during the propulsive phase of the breaststroke kick cycle is commonly recommended. While effective for most, I believe knee width is swimmer-specific or individual in nature and swimmers must be allowed to experiment with various kicking widths to discover the ideal size for them. Kosuke Kitajima, the two-time Olympic gold medalist, has a very narrow kick while Amanda Beard, the most decorated female breaststroker in Olympic history, had an extremely wide kick. One proven method of experimentation involves the following four-step progression:


Step 1: Swimmers place a water bottle between the upper legs and perform a 25 breaststroke kick.

Step 2: A second 25 breaststroke kick is performed with an imaginary water bottle placed between the upper legs. The width of the kick is similar to step one.

Step 3: A third 25 breaststroke kick is performed beginning at the imaginary water bottle width and expanding outward from there one kick at a time.

Step 4: The drill sequence is continued until the ideal knee width is determined.


When performing steps three and four, the knees must spread gradually in order to experience subtle changes in propulsion. Through the process of trial and error, the ideal knee width is determined, delivering maximum propulsion with minimal drag.

Note: The skinny, fat, in between kick drill (listed under Breaststroke Drills in Chapter 4) is another effective way to determine ideal kicking width. 

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