I took steps re: the scandalous breaststroke!
Had a great lesson with I. earlier this afternoon - we met up at Riverbank State Park and did an interesting series of things designed to improve that stroke in particular.
A drill kicking on back with the board, really concentrating on keeping the knees together and drawing the heels up to the butt and then flexing the ankles and kicking properly round and outwards, for power and feeling the glide; and then on the stomach but still with the board, focusing on the whipness of the whip kick, as it were, and the feeling of jumping ahead in the water.
Some kicking in streamline position (keep head down!).
Some sculling and pulling drills with pull buoy and bringing some dolphin undulation into the stroke.
I felt there was a great improvement by the end of the hour - my breaststroke is not actually terrible, I think the contrast with other people's is mostly just that for many people it is their strongest non-free stroke whereas for me it certainly is not that, but it certainly tends to be very flat and shallow with relatively little power in the kick.
I will keep on doing some of these drills, focusing on kicking in particular, on keeping the head-dive and undulation and on keeping the front end of the stroke fairly tight and narrow rather than diffuse.
A bit of work at the end on freestyle - some finger-drag drill (which is definitely a drill I do not do well) really concentrating on high elbows and relaxed forearm in the part of the stroke that is above the water. I told I. the story of how my mother's childhood piano teacher would hold her wrists and shake them loosely until they really flopped and say "Floppy paws!," so we had some floppy-paws lengths of finger-drag drill - stopping stroking now and again to kick on side and make sure that the elbow was pointing up to the ceiling and the forearm was just hanging down with gravity and not held in a tight and stressful position - and it was most helpful.
We'll have a few more here and there as we can - very good stuff...