- The difficulty of simultaneous air recovery, typical of this style, causes the body to constantly alternate and not maintain a horizontal position.
- The body makes some upward and downward wave movements. These movements try to compensate for the negative actions caused by the recovery and to keep the body as horizontal as possible.
- There are two extreme positions taken by the swimmer in the water:
- The hips and the upper legs and torso and head submerged.
- Hips and legs submerged, with upper trunk and head.
- The swimmer perform these wave movements without forcing them consciously, this being a consequence that comes from the rest of the action.
- Although sometimes seem otherwise, the hips makes a very small movement up and down serving more as shaft in the totality of the phases.
Arm Action: water phase or traction
- The entrance is in front of the shoulders, elbows high and slightly bent.
- Palms face outward with an angle of about 45o relative to the water surface.
- The arms extend forward while looking for depth.
- In this moment they open out looking for a width of about 70-80o, with high elbows and wrists slightly bent.
- The palms are in pronation, then pull.
- The arms abruptly change direction, moving now inward while heading back and down.
- The hands make a supination in relation to the previous position.
- At all times elbows are directed sideways.
- The arms are flexed and gathering water.
- The hands move inward and upward.
- The elbows reach their peak flexion just at the end of the pull, under the shoulders (about 90o).
- The hands move back almost parallel, under the body.
- Then separate with a move back out and up.
- At this stage the hand moves at maximum speed.
- The palms before beginning to separate are looking back.
Arms action: Aerial phase or recovery
- Elbows come out first, then the hands with palms facing the thigh.
- The shoulders come out of the water before the arms and remain above it throughout the phase.
- The arms are carried forward relaxed, varying the elbow flexion in function of shoulder-joint mobility in the swimmer.
Action of the legs
- The butterfly shake is performed simultaneously with legs close together and in parallel.
- It is similar to the freestyle shake, but the hip is not kept as fixed and at certain times reaches greater knee flexion, about 125.
- The legs are extended near the water surface.
- Through a flexion of the hip, the knees descend, keeping feet near the surface.
- Knees extend sharply, dropping feet, being in maximum plantar flexion, with toes next and separated ankles.
- The legs are lifted extended, thanks to the action of the extensor muscles of the hip.
- The ankles are kept relaxed.
- The butterflied leg action fundamentally performs three functions:
- They ensure continuous propulsion.
- They keep the body in a hydrodynamic position.
- They help keep your shoulders out of the water during the recovery.
In between the two movements made by the arm cycle are the following differences:
- The second is done with the legs flexed.
- Observing the swimmer from outside the water, the second leg beat splashes more than does the first.
As in all breathing patterns of the styles, there is a phase in the swimming cycle of the butterfly which is more profitable for inhalation. Inhalation should be performed during the period in which the shoulders and head are raised above the water surface.
- Inhale at the end of thrust.
- Exhale increased strength during traction.
- Raise front to the chin to make inhalation.
- Flex the neck to draw breath in.
- Exhale through the mouth and nose.
- Look ahead and inhale.
- Inhale and keep your chin above the surface.
Traction and exhaling (explosive breath coordination)
- The first beat is made during entry of the hands in the water.
- The second beat is made during the thrust.
To get arms-breath coordination follow this rule:
- The head is out before arms.
- The head is in before the arms.
- The inhalation comes at the end of thrust.
PS: You can only achieve this kind of technique if you got someone who is always visualizing and saying something to you, because correction of the style is always a constant in swimming, also sometimes we acquire bad habits that are not noticed, and need feedback to correct.