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So I know that most swimming in rapids should be defensive, on your back feet together and pointed downstream. However, there are times you need some good aggressive swimming to get to an eddie or out of the way of a nasty hazard like wood or a hole.

Is there a better stroke than the crawl or the breaststroke when aggressively swimming in fast moving water?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

A version of crawl is your best bet - a bit like that used by triathlon swimmers when they come to close quarters swimming - but with breast stroke or sidestroke legs.

Don't have the head in as you would for proper crawl stroke, but keep your face up. Use a low crawl arm stroke and a breast stroke or side stroke kick. This way you get the power of the crawl arms and the control of breast stroke legs.

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Perhaps the sidestroke would work, as it conserves energy but uses a powerful scissor kick.

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