Can you swim breaststroke in a triathlon?

I mean, obviously you CAN (I assume it isn't banned), but do people actually do it? Whenever I've seen photos of triathlons, or open water swims in general, everyone seems to be doing front crawl. 
I can swim front crawl, but I not for anything like as long as I can keep breaststroke up for. And I think I would get panicky about not seeing where I was going and all the people around me etc. 

Best Answer


  • Oh if I ever work up to doing it, I'll start right at the back!
  • :)

    Do give it a go!..... we're a friendly and supportive bunch!
    lets be honest.... its all prep for an Ironman on my 100th birthday
  • If you watch on the TV its always pros and elites and so they do use the faster crawl.
    In normal triathlons though yeah plenty do.  Annoyingly some can do it faster than I can crawl.  
    My tip if you're crap like me is to adopt someone doing this and follow them. Chances are they know where they are going. 

  • I would try a mix of both, use that in your training so you can adapt either way rather than limit yourself to just one ...
  • We had a guy at the Cotswold 226 who started doing just breaststroke, and I mean fully head out of water breastroke, and one of the kayak guys taught him how to do front crawl by about 3000m. The 3.8km took him over 2hours, but he was flying by the end :)
  • fat buddhafat buddha ✭✭✭
    yes, it's perfectly OK to do breaststroke in a triathlon swim - you can do any stroke you like in open water, although if you want to do backstroke, you're best getting approval from the race director and chief official.   I was an official during the swim element at the recent European standard distance champs in Kitzbuhel, and one female age grouper did backstroke the whole way until the final buoy when she turned and did front crawl.   her backstroke was do 20 strokes, stop, turn onto front and sight, turn back over, do 20 strokes etc etc.   I even have a video of her as it took me by surprise!
  • Jeez. I bet she still swims straighter than me too. 
  • Tim SyngeTim Synge ✭✭✭
    Yes, you can! Just make sure that you don't start too far forward, as you'll annoy the faster swimmers and risk injury to you, or them, or both.  I have now completed two middle distance (1.2 mile swim) triathlons using my trusty breaststroke and have no plans to learn front crawl any time soon.
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