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daren 12-30-2008 04:05 PM

Slowing down butterfly
I can swim about 50 yards of butterfly, but that's about it. I find it difficult to slow down and conserve energy so I can swim longer, like I can't even imagine doing a 200 yard fly the way I currently do it. Anyone out there have any pointers?

daveblt 12-31-2008 04:14 AM

Swim with your body rhythm and NOT your arms
Do not try to climb out of the water on recovery
Hug the surface on recovery ,stay low
Do not try to dive down on entry, think forward
Keep the arms near the surface but let the chest sink on entry
let the hips rise as the chest sinks to the natural buoyancy of the water
Enter arms at least shoulder width and hands pitched out slightly
Head always in line with spine ,don't jut chin on recovery
Don't thrust the chin down on entry ,enter softly


Jamwhite 01-05-2009 07:29 AM


Originally Posted by daren (Post 1018)
I find it difficult to slow down and conserve energy so I can swim longer, like I can't even imagine doing a 200 yard fly the way I currently do it.

The thing that unlocked butterfly for me was the discovery of how to actually achieve propulsion in the stroke. Here is how I swim it.

Starting from streamline position (legs together, hips high, arms shoulder's width apart in a Y shape), I gently pull my chest forward in the water. To do this, I try to hold my arms anchored in place for the in-sweep. My chest coming forward is the first propulsive motion in the cycle. (Practiced with the "Ride the wave" drill) As soon as my arms are underneath my body, I whip them out and dive into the water and start my undulation, the second propulsive motion, and coasting through the water. (The dive itself it practiced in "Dolphin Dive" the undulation under the water is practiced in "sculling dolphin".) If you are doing the dive and undulation correctly, then you should feel the need to kick your feet at the end of the undulation. Coasting long enough to feel the toe flick is a good sign.

Butterfly is just like the other three strokes, there is glide in it. The glide happens when you dive back into the water and streamline until buoyancy realigns you.

If you are having trouble swimming calmly and slowly, I suggest doing dolphin dives without doing any wholestrokes until you can really glide smoothly through a length and then add one whole stroke to see if you can maintain the streamlined glide.

The other problem that I find with butterfly is the desire to look in front of you. This is a bad bad desire because it makes your neck sore and makes you tired quicker. Keeping your spine and head inline means studying the black line, while that might seem boring, the line moves really fast when you are diving after each stroke.

Suddethb 01-26-2009 01:49 AM

Slowing down Fly CAN be done!
I started learning butterfly in a class in September-October. I had a half hour a week for six weeks with an instructor at my pool. I just needed someone outside the pool to watch me and tell me what I could improve one step at a time. I have the BetterFly DVD and wanted to put it into practice.

Just like you, I was running out of air after a lap or two. I was like that through December. The biggest things the instructor did for me was to get me to hold my head neutral (higher than where I "hide" it for freestyle, but not fully raised), and to press my chest to get more "flow" in my body dolphin.

Last Sunday I managed six lengths @ 25yd non-stop. On this past Thursday I doubled that to 12 lengths. I'm focusing on the thoughts of:
- letting my body rise naturally as I relax and glide,
- keeping my head high enough to clear the water easily to breathe,
- gentle anchor of the hands before I swing the arms forward,
- gentle kicks,
- relax, relax, relax.

TODAY I DID 20 LAPS STOPPING ONLY TO HIT MY WATER BOTTLE! HOLY CRAP!!! That was after a full mile of freestyle to warm up, then another mile plus of freestyle to get me past 3 miles total for my swim. I am headed strongly toward my goal of doing a mile in Fly!

shuumai 02-28-2009 09:23 PM


Originally Posted by Suddethb (Post 1439)

How slow did you go?

I've gone from watching the BetterFly DVD to watching Phelps, and now back to the BetterFly DVD. Though taking the Phelps approach has taught me a few things, I can't maintain the style. When I intentionally swim slow--as in swimming in the family area with traffic and all--it feels relaxed and in some ways technically better. Even Phelps' coach says that one should start out at low intensity. As long as I'm reaching the threshold minimum speed, slow fly is a good thing.

I plan to develop the slow fly technique and build distance with that. That appoach seems to be paying off with the crawl and breaststroke. Technique, distance, then speed.

Suddethb 03-02-2009 12:46 AM


Originally Posted by shuumai (Post 1993)
How slow did you go?

See the new thread I started on 4-Stroke Butterfly for the answer!

Suddethb 07-04-2009 07:08 PM

Doing the 4-stroke (per 25 yard length) boomerfly I'm averaging 1:06 per lap (vs 43-53 per lap of easy fly depending on the level of pull/kick force). I do a gentle dolphin of the wall (about 5 kicks) before my first stroke and then concentrate on relaxation, glide and pressing my chest and try keeping it easy. I've done a mile fly twice so far, only because I'm also working on a personal goal of 250 miles this year, and I can rack up my laps more quickly in freestyle than in fly. ;-) I'm tracking my miles on where I use the name butterflyswmr.

Suddethb 06-20-2016 04:05 AM

I've progressed in my relaxed fly.

liolio 01-31-2017 12:28 PM


Originally Posted by Suddethb (Post 59640)

Any issue with your neck in the long run?
I've a cervical herniation, I like breaststroke but I've to restrain myself from doing it too much as it easily put a strain on the neck.
I'm getting into butterfly (the early steps) and the neck feels better but feedback and experience are welcome.

Damned neck, it is so trouble some and incapacitating...

Anwya great acheivement by the way, I can't imagine marathon swimming in fly, 8O

liolio 05-01-2017 11:01 PM

For the ref my situation has greatly iproved, the bulging disk might still be there (their disappearance is rare) but the herniation is gone.
My neck mobility makes strong progress BUT I realize I've to be careful with regard to breaststroke and butterfly alike.

I still made some progress in fly. Like with all the other strokes I realize I was putting to much energy in the catch more than I could sustain.
Following the advices of swimmer I met I eased my undulation: I was overdoing it (undulation and kick).

I still found the butterfly catch and overall arms movement complicated especially as it seems there are significant different approach from Phelps perferct diamong to wider catch followed by almost straight back ward pull and push.

I start to lean toward the "diamond" approach and doing it well which in my case means sticking to a pretty narrow catch. I lack the strength to catch wider and then pull back thewater and my hand together at the right timing.
I'm leaning toward the diamond shape because it sets me for a good recovery at the cost of some power lost.

Still a work in progress... I'm not relaxed enough, my breathing is not ok, etc. but I think I have somewhere to go: relax and stick to a given technique. I'm still unable to break 50m but I believe the breakthrough is close.

PS: I've made quite some progress till I practice in a 25m pool.
1) it is less busy than the 50m and butterfly is not exactely people friendly.
2) 50m is a long distance to butterstruggle through... lol
3) there has to be a CON... my turns no matter the stroke... it kicks me out of rythm it affect my front crawl significantly but kills my butterfy.

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