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The Backstroke

The backstroke is similar to freestyle in that you use an alternate windmill arm stroke and flutter kick. Two keys to a proper backstroke are (1) that your arms move with equal strength, otherwise you will swim off to one side, and (2) that your body rolls from side to side so that your arms catch enough water to propel you forward.
Because of the required shoulder roll during backstroke swimming and a slightly weaker arm cycle, the legs play a more important part in adding a propulsive force to the stroke. The key, however, is to ensure that the feet work just under the water surface and not above it, to ensure that the full kicking movement is propulsive and not against thin air. The arm cycle is described as follows: 
Recovery 
Thumb first, arm fully extended, rotate the arm laterally through the shoulder joint, keeping in line with the body, gradually turning the hand laterally at the wrist ready for the entry. Allowing the opposite shoulder to drop will lift the recovery shoulder to help balance the stroke and create a more powerful propulsive phase
Little finger first, drop the shoulder to allow a reach and 'catch' the water with the hand cupped. The arm should flex slightly at the elbow to assist in the catch 
Down Sweep 
Continue to flex the arm at the elbow as you press laterally, then downwards as you pull the hand towards the shoulder and chest, keeping that shoulder in the drop position
Press 
With the arm close to the body, press the water towards the feet in line with the body, ensuring full arm extension is achieved. 

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