The Butterfly Keyhole

Here's an interesting article I got off the internet. It describes the butterfly stroke and later, the keyhole pattern in the fly arm pull.


The butterfly stroke has the reputation of being difficult to do because those who have not learned to do it properly try to rise too high and go too fast. It requires only moderate effort if done slowly and easily.

The butterlfy stroke is faster than any stroke except the crawl. It's used for competetive swimming and as another step on the ladder of aquatic mastery. It's not used for lifesaving or as a resting stroke, or for distance swimming or for recreation. The buttefly stroke is sometimes used for its showmanship value as part of a synchronized swimming routine. (???)

Start the stroke by kicking the dolphin kick slowly, arms stretched overhead. Time the first arm pull to coincide with a downward kick of the legs. Thrust your chin forward and inhale as you pull. Recover your arms over the the water while your legs are lifting. Kick down again as your head, hands, and arms dive into the water. That is the end of one butterfly stroke. Exhale and, as your legs lift into position to kick again, prepare your hands and arms for another pull. Thus, one arm stroke, two downward kicks, and a breath constitute one stroke, but you must take time between strokes to prepare.


To do the butterfly armstroke, pull with both arms simultaneously. Flex both wrists to point your fingertips downward and, by bending your elbows slightly, turn your palms slightly outward. Begin the pull by slicing (sculling) your hands outward, around, and inward, bending your elbows and turning your palms to facilitate the sculling action as if you were trying to draw a large circle with your fingertips on the bottom of the pool.

Leave your elbows as far forward during the first half of the circle, pulling with your hands and forearms. Bring your shoulder muscles into play by beginning to pull with your upper arms as you hands and forearms pass your ears. With elbows bent at 90 degrees, press back and inward toward the centerline of your body until your hands complete the circle nearly touching under your chest. Allow your wrists to begin bending back to keep the palms perpedicular to the line of effort (they will be forced into that position if you simply relax them slowly as you push. Push straight backward toward your feet, extending your elbows and separating your hands enough for them to pass, palms up, outside your thighs.

Keep your elbows straight as you lift both arms free of the water. Begin to bring both arms forward over the water with palms facing upward until your arms are nearly at shoulder level. At that point begin to turn your palms down and continue to bring both arms over the water to enter as far forward as you can reach, in line with your shoulders. Keep your elbows high on the entry, as though you were reaching over a wave with both arms. Allow your head, hands, and upper torso to dive "over a wave" to about a foot beneath the water, then bend your wrists back to turn the fingertips up and glide toward the surface. As soon as your hands return to the surface, flex your wrists to drop your fingertips in preparation for the next stroke.

Do not begin the next stroke as your hands enter the water. Allow time to dive, reach, and glide to the surface before starting the next stroke. The whole stroke resembles drawing a keyhole with your hands: The circle at the top followed by a straight push from your chest to your thighs circumscribes a keyhole shape.

Go ahead, post your comment below!