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Swimming Legal Butterfly (Age Group Swimmers)

In today’s video, we’re going to look at butterfly. Specifically, what is the difference between legal butterfly and being disqualified. We’re going to look at the arms, the kick, and touching the wall.

On the recovery phase of the stroke, we want our arms to come forward over the water. Fly those arms forward… over the water. Don’t crash your plane into the lake. Fly your arms forward.

Some swimmers drag or sail their arms along the surface of the water. While this is slow and inefficient, it is not illegal. In the above video, watch as my arms scrape along the surface of the water. Splashing up all that water is tiring. Fly your arms over the water don’t drag them along the surface. Still, this is not illegal unless your sail boat starts to sink.

An underwater recovery is illegal and would lead to a disqualification. As you’ll see in the video, my arms are coming forward under the water. My arms are completely submerged. This is not a legal stroke and is very tiring.

Non-simultaneaous arms would also lead to a disqualification. As you fly your arms forward, they need to come forward together, at the same time, or simultaneously. Watch above. Are my arms coming forward together? 1-2, 1-2. This is called “non-simultaneaous arms”, and is not a legal stroke.

Next, we’ll look at what constitutes legal kick. On butterfly kick, your feet come up and down together like a dolphin’s tail. Turn your two feet into one tail. Your feet need to be close together, moving up and down at the same time. This is legal kick.

Flutter kick is not legal when swimming butterfly. In one video example, I perform the dolphin motion with my body, but my feet break into flutter kick every now and then. If your dolphin fin splits in two, your kick is not legal.

Breaststroke kick is also not legal when swimming butterfly. In this example, I’m throwing in a little breaststroke kick every now and then. If your feet turn out, this is incorrect and would result in a disqualification as well.

Whenever you touch the wall on butterfly, you need to touch with both hands at the same time. Watch here as I come into the wall. Two hand touch, and go. Let’s slow it down. Both hands touch simultaneously on top of the wall. This is a legal. Next, my hands are under the water. Nonetheless, they touch together at the same time. This is legal. This time, I’ve got one hand higher than the other. Still, they touch the wall simultaneously.  This is legal, but can be tough for the stroke and turn judge to see.

A single hand touch would result in a disqualification. See my left hand fall away. It never does touch does it. A non-simultaneous touch would also result in a disqualification. Watch as I touch with one hand, then, the other. Both hands need to touch the wall together in order for it to be legal.

Butterfly is a difficult stroke to master, so if you’ve been disqualified in the past, just keep working at it.  You’ll get it. Good luck!


What do you think?

21 Points

Written by Chris B.

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  1. Just seeing the video and reading about the butterfly makes me groan. This is such a hard one for me. As a kid I always used to wonder why in the world they put this stroke into competitions. I am a fish and this one is hard. My feet break apart as well, when I try to kick up the speed.


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