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50 Swim Tips

Butterfly Technique
By Gary Barclay

It is important to develop good timing, technique and rhythm in butterfly over shorter distances before attempting any longer swims.

The body is never in a perfectly streamlined position as the stroke relies on continuous undulation of the body to effect the propulsive movements

The first movement of the hands is an outward scull until they are shoulder width or a bit wider
Palms should be pitched at 30 to 45 degrees - little finger up
Hands then scull backward, downward and inward until thumbs almost touch
Hands (thumbs) remain close to each other as the push back hard to the waistline, where they separate to scull outwards and backwards beyond the hips

The arms recover simultaneously with the back of the hand pointing forward, thumb down; arms remain low until hands enter water at shoulder width on a 30 degree angle

The first kick occurs when the arms are extending forward and beginning to press out at the beginning of pull
Head and shoulders rise as the hands sweep under the chest
Chin extends forward along the surface and inhalation is commenced
As the hands scull back toward the legs, the second and more powerful down kick is commenced
Chin is tucked in toward the chest and face lowered into the water, before the arms complete their recovery

All butterfly drills can be done with and without fins in multiples of 25’s, 50’s or 100’s


1. Fly kick on back
2. Fly kick on front - as far as you can without a breath; hold board on the end
3. Fly kick on front with board - lift head to breath on every 4th kick
4. Same as 3. without board
5. For variety, also do fly kick with arms by side, underwater, on left side or on right side

1. Straight arm pull through for learners of fly. Do four strokes with kicking (remember two kicks to each arm stroke) then stop and rest.

1. Arms extended in front and hands together, do 3 kicks then pull, kick and recover, repeat...
2. Same with only 2 kicks then pull, kick and recover
3. Normal fly without rushing the stroke. Ask the swimmer to pause in front after each stroke
4. Repeat step 1. but include a breath as the hands push back and the 4th kick is being effected
5. Repeat steps 2 & 3 including breathing
6. Biondi drill - Butterfly underwater pull with breath and under water arm recovery.

Gary Barclay
The Swimming Expert

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"Swimming for Parentsí is a must for all parents of swimmmers so they can get the most out of the sport of swimming. "

If you are after some DVDs to watch, we have sourced some of the best Butterfly specific DVDs from around the world and put them together on swimBUTTERFLYfast.

A book for competitive swimmers by Gary Barclay - A Great Resource for Swimmers, Parents and Coaches in Australia
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