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Butterfly Stroke

The butterfly stroke is a swimming stroke where both arms move simultaneously and the legs do a “dolphin kick”. Among all the styles, the butterfly is the toughest to master as it requires an accurate and precise technique. In order to swim the butterfly stroke, you would need to have strong and developed shoulders.



1. Master all your other swimming strokes first. Generally, butterfly is the last stroke to be taught competitively and leisurely. It requires lots of upper body strength along with endurance, which you should have already built up leading to attempting the butterfly.

2. Seek help from a professional instructor. It is still possible to learn the stroke by yourself, but having a knowledgeable swim instructor is invaluable.

3. The dolphin kick is the fundamental movement of the butterfly stroke. The legs will join together like those similar to that of a “mermaid” and the kick will mimic a wavelike motion. Should you require any equipment to assist you, it would be recommended to use flippers.

4. Do a medium-sized kick and follow up with a larger kick to lift your body up.

5. Once your head emerges from the water surface, it is a signal to work your arms. After taking your breath, tuck your chin in so it touches above your chest. This helps to lift your arms a lot higher. You will then perform the arm movements by making a large circular swooping motion. First, your arms will be positioned at the back, bring them together by moving them up and out of the water, and directly in front of you. Once your hands reach the water surface, make a keyhole-shaped motion with your hands.

6. When you’re still underwater, kick once with a stronger kick before coming up to breathe and extending your arms out again.

7. Before making your next arm stroke, complete a short kick.



  • Constant practice will be required to master the butterfly stroke.
  • Work on your technique before speed.
  • Ensure to undulate on your stroke and use your center of gravity to propel yourself forward.
  • When making a stroke, keep your hands about shoulder width apart, so that they do not hit.
  • Lifting your arms up as high as possible during the recovery doesn’t make the stroke easier.
  • Learn to do more than one kick per stroke to save time and energy.
  • Breathe between every other stroke or lesser if you can.
  • Avoid bending your knees too much. The primary power in the dolphin kick comes from the core and thighs, not the calves.
  • When your head comes up for air, ensure that your chin isn’t more than 3 inches above the water surface as this forces you up instead of forward.

Equipment Required

  • Swimming pool
  • Goggles
  • Swimming attire
  • Lifeguard (for safety precautions)

As mentioned above, to excel in the butterfly stroke, assistance from a professional instructor would be ideal. Therefore, if you’re looking for someone that can guide or correct you in your stroke technique, we will be more than happy to help! To register for swimming lessons with us, just visit our website, select your preferred lesson type and fill in your details. Our coordinators will contact you for further arrangements. It’s perfectly alright to seek help especially when it comes to the butterfly!

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