So in the 1956 Olympics, I don’t know how to say his name, but he won the 200 Breaststroke by swimming underwater for the first 45 meters of each of the three 50’s and then on his last 50 he only made 25 meters. So, basically he did 45 meters 45 meters 45 meters and then 25 meters, and then swam on the surface After that. So, the reality is he swim only 50 meters of an entire 200 meter breaststroke in the 1956 Olympics above the surface of the water, everything else was done under the surface. Keep in mind, in the 1956 Olympics, there was no such thing as a Breaststroke Pullout. So, he was essentially swimming Breaststroke under the surface of the water for 45 meters, took 5 meters to breathe, went down again, for 45 more meters took 5 more meters to breathe, again, 45 meters under the water 5 more meters to breathe and then only made that 25 meters on the very last 50 and then swam 25 meters to finish. Which is crazy if you think about it -that’s a ton of breath control.
Then kick that into the 1988 Olympics, you have five out of the eight Olympic medalists in the men’s 200 Backstroke that stayed at least 25 meters off the wall. The guy who coined this, his name’s David Berkoff, He actually still swims and coaches and I had no idea about that. I had a friend of mine that said something about “oh, I did a clinic with David Berkoff not that long ago” and he is somewhere in like the northern states that he lives, and he still coaches. But he coined the term, he got the term coined, Berkoff Blastoff due to the fact that he just stayed under a substantial amount of time off of his Backstroke starts, and they became the Berkoff Blastoffs. Quickly, after the 1988 Olympics they decided that they needed to make rule to limit the amount of Dolphin Kicking off the wall, it was actually 10 meters, so it was shorter than what it is now, and then, in 1991 the distance was changed to 15. And then finally by 1998, a rule is applied to all four strokes, no matter what you are swimming.