Butterfly stroke

The butterfly stroke wasn’t invented in a single moment, and a number of swimmers have contributed to its development.

The Australian Sydney Cavill is officially recognized as the “father” of the stroke, though his father Fred Cavill is also credited as the original freestyler.

As until the 1940-s there were no clear rules regarding the breaststroke competitions, the German Erich Rademacher was experimenting with this weird new style in swimming races during the late 1920-s. Later, an American named Henry Myers performed this new style at a swimming competition in 1933. The race officials were surprised by Myers’s technique, but they didn’t disqualify him.

The distinctive leg movements mimicking a dolphin’s tail (hereby the term dolphin kick) were suggested by a young physicist named Volney Wilson who liked observing the aquatic animals at the Shedd Aquarium (Chicago). However, his role and contribution are most often overlooked. The credit usually goes to David Armbruster, who coached swimming at the University of Iowa. In the 1930-s he started experimenting with the new leg technique and encouraged swimmers to substitute the traditional breaststroke “frog legs” in favour of the dolphin kick.

In 1953 the butterfly stroke was officially recognized as a separate swimming style. This is also when the dolphin kick was allowed.

Butterfly stroke swimming technique

Butterfly stroke leg movements:

The butterfly stroke leg movements follow a wave trajectory. They resemble dolphin’s movements, hence the name “dolphin kick”.

Butterfly stroke arm movements:

Stretch your arms forward as much as possible, then stroke forward synchronously with both arms underneath the body. Stroking is completed as a semi-circle, if observing the swimmer from the side under water. When arms take a straight position close to the body, take them out and stretch to the sides, then stretch forward. This is all performed as one rapid movement. When looked from above, the swimmer performs a circle with the arms. Some compare the water surface arm movements to butterfly wings, hence the name of the style – butterfly stroke.

Butterfly stroke body movements:

When arms are stretched forward, the whole body makes a wavy motion, with hands moving the least in relation to the water surface, and feet moving the most. The impulse of movement starts from the arms and passes through the whole body to end at the toes.

Butterfly stroke breathing technique:

Taking the head above the water surface and inhaling happen at the moment when the arms are below the body.

People who prefer the butterfly stroke are advanced swimming enthusiasts, as well as professional swimmers. Or they might be bulky beefcakes displaying muscles, strength and masculinity B|