How to Swim Butterfly - Improving Butterfly Stroke
Many swimmers will argue that the butterfly is the toughest swimming stroke to master due to the huge levels of strength and endurance it requires.
The butterfly stroke requires an incredible amount of power, so it is of paramount importance to get your body position and stroke technique as efficient as possible.
Even an ounce of energy wasted on overcompensating for a weak technique will cost you valuable seconds in the water.
When it's performed perfectly, the butterfly is a joy to watch. It produces powerful and exciting racing – at its peak speed, albeit briefly, it's even faster than freestyle due to the ability to pull with both arms.
Michael Phelps blazed a trail of success in this discipline, winning a total of 18 gold medals over 100m and 200m. He still holds the long course world records in both.
What is the perfect body position for butterfly swimming?
Keeping your head and body in the correct position at all times will make you more streamlined in the water, saving more energy to generate your power.
To achieve optimum efficiency, your head must be kept in a neutral face-down position. Lead with the top of your head, aiming your eyes 90 degrees below towards the bottom of the pool.
This will help you to keep your body straight, and position yourself as close as possible to the top of the water.
To make yourself more streamlined, your body needs to be as flat as possible too. Straighten your back and keep that aforementioned neutral head position at all times, except when lifting it to breathe.
What is the perfect butterfly stroke technique?
To start your butterfly stroke, you need your arms in the water and your elbows maintaining a high position. Then press down with your forearms to catch and pull back the water.
During the pull phase of the stroke, hold the water with that high elbow placement and accelerate your arms through the water. Your fingers should be pointed towards the bottom of the pool, and your hands should be kept inside your body line.
Then, push backwards with your hands and accelerate them up and out of the water for the recovery phase.
Try to maintain a relaxed motion, and bring your arms over the surface of the water. Keep them straight and close to the water's surface until they re-enter the pool thumb-first.
You can watch speedo's butterfly technique video to understand it better.