Basics of Butterfly Swimming


Butterfly stroke should be balanced by a strong kick that has a significant propulsive contribution. Butterfly is the second least efficient of the competitive strokes. The complex nature of the stroke increases the potential for flaws in the swimmer’s technique.

The Stroke

  • Entry of the hands into the water is in line with the shoulders, and the legs are positioned ready to start the first downward kick.
  • The first downward kick of the legs occurs as the hands and arms are positioning for the catch.
  • As the hands and arms move into the high-elbow position, the legs have moved upward ready for the next downward propulsive kick.
  • As the hands and arms reach the position under the body, the hands are close together under the body ready to start the push-through of the stroke.
  • The legs are beginning their second downward kick.
  • The face is leaving the water to take a breath.
  • As the legs are moving downward the hands and arms can move through the push phase of the stroke and the face will have risen out of the water for the breath.
  • The hands and arms accelerate through the final extension of the push phase of the stroke.
  • When the hands and arms leave the water for the recovery phase, the legs recover upward ready to start the downward kicking action.
  • The face returns to the water slightly ahead of the entry of the hands to enable the smooth flow of the stroke as the hands go forward of the shoulders.