Originally Posted by daren
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.