The Leg Motion
The first thing you need to practice
is the leg kick. You will need to employ what is known as a dolphin
kick. To perform this extend your arms in front of you and hold your legs together with your toes pointed. Now imagine you are a mermaid
, your legs are a mermaid's tail and you swim by moving your legs up and down in a whipping motion. Starting at your hips and traveling down the length of your legs
, bending at the knees
Practice this in the pool. Try swimming with a dolphin kick as far as you can underwater. Practice travelling as far as you can with the miniumum number of kicks. As you get better, try and let the undulating motion the kick generates spread along your whole body. Imagine the constant waves that pass along a snake's body as it moves.
The Arm Motion.
Now you can try the arm motion. This provides the majority of power for the stroke. Your arms pull simultaneously in a symmetrical double "S-shaped" pull, also sometimes known as the "keyhole" arm stroke. Your hands should enter the water together with palms outward and thumbs facing down at the water. First pull your arms outward and downward, this should lift your head and part of your shoulders out of the water. Then continue extending your arms down to your thighs. Extend your arms right back along your thighs before beginning the recovery phase.
This is where your arms leave water and arch back over you head to enter the water in front of you again. Your head and shoulders should follow the line of your hands as you dive back under the water.
Timing and coordination
This is the secret to butterfly. As your hands hit the water and you begin to pull, start the downstroke of your first kick. This forces your upper body down under the water. As you complete the pull your upper body will have been lifted up out of the water. This is where you perform your second kick to propel you through the recovery. As your arms come over your head and enter the water again you are ready to start your next stroke. Your head and shoulders re-enter the water and you start that first kick again, the one that will force your torso back under the water. This timing of kicks along with the practice you have put in learning the kicking motion produces the characteristic undulating motion of butterfly.
-Breathe as your head leaves the water on the pull part of the stroke.
-Exhale throughout the period your head is under the water.
-Don't try and lift your whole upperbody out of the water. You should swim with your head down and as it is pulled clear of the water look up a little and take your breath.
-Remember the object of the exercise is to go forward not in an exaggerated up and down motion.