Butterfly from Andrea Morgan on Vimeo

This video shows a 50-yard butterfly swim. For isolation of a block start or butterfly turn, go to the starts page or the turns page.

The Butterfly

Most competitive swimmers regard the butterfly as the most difficult stroke. However, it is much faster than the breaststroke, and even the backstroke for short distances.


Start with your amrs streamline in front of you. Cup your hands and turn your palms out. Pull outward and back simultaneously with both arms. Once you extend them fully by your sides, use a dolphin kick (explained below) to propel yourself forward and upward, and thrust your arms up out of the water and through the air, until your hands come together and re-enter the water. Propell this motion from your shoulders. When your arms re-enter and push through the water, let this motion lift your head and shoulders so that you can breathe.


Extend your legs behind you, flat in the water, with your toes pointed. Relax your knees. Propell your thighs downward, then your lower legs, so that your hips rise and fall. Repeat this motion, timing it so that the downard lower leg motion (and lift in the hips) corresponds with the arms coming out of the water.