Swimming strokes besides freestyle when training for a race has several advantages. Learning proper backstroke and mixing it in to your workouts can help your freestyle hip rotation. It is even more essential in backstroke to rotate your hips with each stroke than in freestyle, and will help your brain make the biomechanical connection. Swimming thousands of yards and hundreds of laps of nothing but freestyle is way too monotonous and can play with your mind! I recommend mixing it up. Backstroke or breaststroke can be relaxing. Butterfly can give you a nice ab workout, and even just one or two lengths can burn many calories!
Be sure to check out this week’s swim on the Swim Workouts list: http://www.coachtj.com/?page_id=96