The hydrokinetic turbine is used worldwide for electrical generation purposes, as such a technology may strongly reduce environmental impact. Turbines designed using backward swept blades can significantly reduce the axial load, being relevant for hydro turbines. However, few works have been conducted in the literature in this regard. For the case of hydrokinetic rotors, backward swept blades are still a challenge, as the authors are unaware of any optimization procedures available, making this paper relevant for the current state of the art. Thus, the present work develops a new optimization procedure applied to hydrokinetic turbine swept blades, with the main objective being the design of blades with reduced axial load on the rotor and possibly a reduction in the cavitation. The proposed method consists of an extension of the blade element momentum theory (BEMT) to the case of backward swept blades through a radial transformation function. The method has low computational cost and easy implementation. Once it is based on the BEMT, it presents good agreement when compared to experimental data. As a result, the sweep heavily affects the chord and twist angle distributions along the blade, increasing the turbine torque and power coefficient. In the case of the torque, it can be increased by about 18%. Additionally, even though the bound circulation demonstrates a strong change for swept rotors, Prandtl’s tip loss seems to be not sensitive to the sweep effect, and alternative models are needed.