Swimming the Butterfly Stroke: Difficult To Do, But Impressive Looking
For most this is the most difficult stroke to learn. However, it is the most impressive. Just like breast stroke it is also symmetrical. The kick is a dolphin kick.
The arms begin straight in front fully straight. They begin to pull slightly outwards similar to breast stroke. When the hands are in line with the shoulders they come in towards the center of the body and then quickly push hard towards the legs. This is the most powerful part of the stroke and it must be done correctly for the stroke to be effective. Unlike breast stroke, the arms stay much straighter. Just as the arms are about to push towards the legs is when the swimmer lifts their head for one breath. In this stroke the swimmer takes a breath every other stroke. The reason for this is because breathing slows the swimmer down by increasing resistance.
There are two whip kicks for each arm stroke. The first kick takes place when the arms are in front and the second, stronger kick, takes place when the hands are by the hips.
If the stroke is done correctly the swimmer undulates in and out of the water and it looks for smooth and effortlessly. With fly it is strongly recommended that the kick is learned first. This is done by a series of drills that emphasize the body movement. More on drills later.
In fly the swimmer starts with a dive. Once in the water they should stay fully streamlined and start dolphin kicking. Long kicks at first then making them shorter and faster as they surface. The swimmer has 15 meters to surface from the wall once they dive in or do a turn.
During a turn swimmers must touch the wall with both hands at the same time. They must surface every second stroke.
Fly is also very difficult. It is very tiring. This is why so few swimmers are good flyers, and even fewer can do more than 50-100 meters. It is also hard on the shoulders, especially if done incorrectly, and may increase the risk of injury. With young swimmers learning the body motion is more important than doing the full stroke.
To assist young swimmers in learning the kick flippers may be used. However, be careful that they don’t become dependent on them to the point that their stroke suffers without the flippers.