Originally Posted by mogulmuncher
I would see the problem as more with whip-kick specifically rather than breast stroke overall. Butterfly -- well, that's just a plain hard workout unless you've done a lot of swimming (probably with some competitive exposure), but I like the dolphin kick. I've had success with pool training using a dolphin kick, as legs-only or in a modified breast stroke to ease the load on knees. The modified breast stroke feels a bit odd to people who have trained "proper" breast stroke (i.e. with whip kick), but it's workable.
Do you find in your case it is most comfortable to keep your knee joint movement very minimal, e.g. using a flutter kick from the hip as much as possible?
Excellent questions and good thoughts, though hard to answer.
I don't do very much swimming at present and I'm also doing some stuff (jogging, commuter biking) that may not be very good for the knees. So the fact that my knees aren't making massive improvements may or may not have to do with the swimming. I think of them as limiting for skiing (painful when flexed more than 90 degrees) but stable.
What's more, I'm swimming principally for another reason (four inches of titanium holding my back together!). So my main swimming is front crawl for the sake of the back muscles. Lack of fitness, if no other reason, keeps my leg kick fairly minimal (just enough to maintain water position and forward motion). I do the odd length of butterfly if the pool's not too crowded just to show that I can (you can guess from that how rubbish my butterfly is
). No noticeable effects.
In relation to the OP, though, I did think that I had been neglecting back crawl and that it might be good to do more to balance the knee out, so I've done a few lengths the last couple of pool visits. But I haven't been doing it long enough to see any effects.
(By the way, where is "Collingwood"?)