Most backstrokers try to hit a home run with each arm pull….and they tend to try to push their hands all the way to the end. As a consequence, they lose time in the most important position (what I call the power position) at the beginning of the stroke, shortly after the hand enters the water. In other words, they swim one arm pull at a time and lose the continuity and flow of the stroke. What I like to teach in backstroke is to keep the hands over the head all the time. The power one generates at the end of the pull is small compared to the beginning. So the quicker we can get our hand back into the power position the better. This also maintains our inertia. It takes a lot more energy to get going fast than it does to keep going fast (freeway swimming vs. stop and go traffic swimming). One way to accomplish this ‘swimming on the freeway’ is to do the ‘half-stroke’ backstroke. In other words, just think about taking the first half of the stroke. Ignore the second half (from your stomach to your leg). In reality, you won’t be able to do it, but you will find you get your hand back over your head much quicker. Don’t try to hit a home run with each arm pull and you will stay on the freeway, not tire as quickly and come out with a much better time!