The front crawl or forward crawl, also known as the Australian crawl or American crawl, is a swimmingstroke usually regarded as the fastest of the four front primary strokes. As such, the front crawl stroke is almost universally used during a freestyle swimming competition, and hence freestyle is used metonymically for the front crawl. It is one of two long axis strokes, the other one being the backstroke. Unlike the backstroke, the butterfly stroke, and the breaststroke, the front crawl is not regulated by the FINA. This style is sometimes referred to as the Australian crawl although this can sometimes refer to a more specific variant of front crawl. This stroke was used by Gertrude Ederle in 1926 to be the first woman to cross the English channel.

Backstroke or back crawl is one of the four swimming styles used in competitive events regulated by FINA, and the only one of these styles swum on the back. This swimming style has the advantage of easy breathing, but the disadvantage of swimmers not being able to see where they are going. It also has a different start from the other three competition swimming styles. The swimming style is similar to an upside down front crawl or freestyle. Both backstroke and front crawl are long-axis strokes. In individual medley backstroke is the second style swum; in the medley relay it is the first style swum.