View Full Version : first video: butterfly

February 20th, 2010, 09:42 AM
I recently bought an underwater video camera, and have recorded my first videos.

Here is a clip of my butterfly. (It's my worst stroke, but I'm a sucker for doing things in IM order. Plus fly videos seem to be the hot topic at the moment.)

YouTube- Butterfly 10-02-19

I knew that video would be great feedback: the few times I have seen an above-water clip of myself, I have been astonished to see things I was unaware that I was doing. But underwater video is even better.

Flaws I can see:

hands move too close in front?
too much glide/pause in front?
stroke not flat enough: too vertical during recovery
first kick (with hands extended) is too late?
first kick (with hands extended) is too hinged at the knee

I'm uncertain about my own diagnosis, though, and would welcome other opinions.

Also, since my timing & stroke actually feel fairly smooth to me while swimming (very different from how it looks), I'd love to hear about drills or key attention points that can help me focus on the changes I need to make.

February 20th, 2010, 04:00 PM
Not bad at all. Maybe drop the head some more & press the hands a bit sooner.

February 22nd, 2010, 08:18 AM
Thanks for the feedback. By "drop the head some more", do you mean above water or below?

February 22nd, 2010, 10:39 AM
Do you have any video shot from the side? I find it easier to judge fly technique from side-view video. Actually, it's ideal to have video from multiple angles. It's possible that your breathing is a little late, but it's hard to tell... You do have a fairly broad outsweep, which is not necessarily a flaw but potentially slows down your turnover.

February 22nd, 2010, 12:03 PM
The largest error I see and a side view would better confirm this;

you lead your stroke with your elbows which is a significant problem and not an easy one to correct. Ask your coach to watch for this and they'll give you some drills and exercises that can help correct this. Good luck, Coach T.

February 22nd, 2010, 07:40 PM
I don't have anything with a side view, but I can certainly record some.

I'll also pay attention in the pool to see if I'm leading with my elbows, which is certainly not a cue that I ever think about (unlike staying flat, looking forward, wider entry, etc)

February 22nd, 2010, 08:20 PM
your hands move too close underwater
they need to go down where they hit
catch, pull, press

need a side view to see what really going on

February 23rd, 2010, 09:58 AM
Thanks, Ande.

I can tell from watching videos of Phelps, Cavic, etc that I need to start my pull sooner & wider, and eliminate that glide in front. When I try it, though, it feels almost physically impossible. Maybe I just need to get stronger, but I'm also hoping some timing changes will magically "unlock" the leverage I need somehow.

Also: should that glide/pause in the front disappear at all distances? Or does the more relaxed pace of a 200 fly involve some brief glide while streamlined, as in breaststroke or distance free? (Not that this is an excuse -- the video was definitely not at 200 pace.)

February 23rd, 2010, 12:05 PM
This is interesting.

I'm at the point where I want to learn this stroke. Can anybody point to resources that would help?


February 23rd, 2010, 06:52 PM
I've been working on the same issue and found that simply pressing the hips earlier allowed me to reduce the pause/out-scull at the front of the stroke. So, I press the chest and start the pull and then quickly release the chest/press the hips which gets my torso oriented for the upward trajectory and breath and arm recovery. My "aha moment" was shifting from trying to lift the front end using my arms to pressing the back end. "Pressing" your hips also seems to help with recovering the legs from the hips rather than from the knees.

Some people think about it as starting an undulation at the head or shoulder, but still using core/torso muscles instead of with the arms. Solar describes it as looking where you will breath, i.e. leading with the head.

Anyway, if the above makes any sense to you, it might be worth experimenting with.

February 24th, 2010, 09:23 AM
Thanks, Lindsay. I played around a little with pressing my hips earlier in practice this morning, but it looks like I'll need to keep working on it. It's always tough (for me) to convert words to motion in the water.

I did manage to record some side-view video after practice, and will post that when I find time to get it uploaded.

February 24th, 2010, 01:02 PM
The other thing I've found helpful is practicing the immediate catch and pull while doing one-arm fly.

The only caveat is that you have to be careful not to substitute rotating to the side for the breath for undulating to the breath. You'll know you've probably done this if it works great for one arm but not two arm!

Good luck!

February 24th, 2010, 01:02 PM
One more thing maybe.

Underwater footage are great. But a lot of details about your stroke can better be viewed through normal *outside water* view. If possible, next time try including both views for better feed back.

February 24th, 2010, 08:00 PM
As Ande says, your hands are too close together, causing a forced outsweep rather than immediate catch which can slow you down. Your pull is too wide and your hands should finish closer together. On arm entry, we should see the top of your head...you should be looking at the bottom of the pool. Your head should be inline with your spine except for the momentary breath.

February 24th, 2010, 09:16 PM
Okay, here's a quick side-view video. (I didn't see Solar's comments in time to get above-water, too.)

YouTube- Butterfly Side View 10-02-24

Unfortunately I only caught 1-2 strokes from where I set up the camera. Hopefully it's enough.

Side view definitely shows I'm too vertical, breathe too high, and it's all driven by the arms (not hips). Further comments on timing or elbows would be great.

February 24th, 2010, 09:17 PM
As Ande says, your hands are too close together, causing a forced outsweep rather than immediate catch which can slow you down. Your pull is too wide and your hands should finish closer together. On arm entry, we should see the top of your head...you should be looking at the bottom of the pool. Your head should be inline with your spine except for the momentary breath.

rtodd, that's great stuff. I can see exactly what you mean. I have lots to work on.

February 24th, 2010, 10:02 PM
You have a great body dolphin. Your kick looks good with the proper bend in the knees. That's the good news. For the bad news, your arms are entering way too deep and you are not looking at the bottom of the pool with your head in line with your spine. Lay the arms on the surface and drop your chest and head down between your arms. This will force your arms to take a wider entry and you will be flat and fast on entry with no braking effect. Make a conscious effort to look and focus on the bottom of the pool during your catch and pull. You are almost there. You have the stuff to be way fast, I can tell.

February 25th, 2010, 12:21 AM
If you watch the upward leg recovery between seconds 12 and 14 you'll see that the upward motion is all below the knee. If you watch the upward leg recovery between 14 and 15 you'll see that your knee starts upward as your feet finish the downbeat and your knees are basically straight through the upward movement, which is what you want. The upward movement from the knee down is contributing to your back end sinking. The no-kick fly drill from the other thread might help, if you keep your legs almost straight during the arm recovery you may get the feel for it. The longer/straighter you keep your legs during the recovery the more leverage you have to stay flat. In full stroke you do want a kick at the end of the recovery, but the key is to have it at the end when your body is already near horizontal.

February 25th, 2010, 10:02 AM
I've attached a couple frames from your video taken as the hands enter, plus similarly timed frames from video of another masters swimmer and Michael Phelps. The Phelps picture might be considered ideal but most masters swimmers don't have the flexibility to get their arms in that position. The position of Simon's arms is more realistic for most masters swimmers.

This is where above water video would be helpful, a lot of people sort of slam their arms into the water, which is the opposite of a "soft hand entry" or "laying your arms on top of the water". Above water video would tell us if that's what you're doing. It would also allow us to see the timing of your breath and head movement. It is hard to see clearly in your video but it might be that your head is not coming down early enough.

As you identified your trunk still has a significant uphill angle while Simon and Michael's torso's are horizontal at hand entry. A lot of swimmers attempt to slam their arms into the water in an attempt at getting more horizontal by lowering the front end but my theory is that this is counterproductive - instead you should work on lifting the hips instead.

I hope the still pictures provide some insight.

February 27th, 2010, 12:05 PM
Extremely smart post Lindsay.

February 27th, 2010, 10:01 PM
Thanks again to everyone for the advice, and especially to Lindsay for the video editing.

I have worked some with the advice you all have given. rtodd's tip about looking down more is easy to work on -- I can definitely feel what I'm doing wrong there. And working on a wider and shallower entry does help with the quicker catch. Pressing the hips is still eluding me, although I'm sure there are some significant timing issues that I need to unlock.

I recorded some above-water video of my fly this morning for those who requested it. This is with my "old" stroke, with no conscious attempt to fix the flaws, so that it is hopefully consistent with the underwater views above.

YouTube- Butterfly Above Water 10-02-27

February 27th, 2010, 11:24 PM
See the same thing from the top. After you breathe, you are not getting your head back in line with your spine and looking down at the bottom of the pool. It's like you are skipping this step entirely. Dropping the head will help pop your hips back to the surface. Your head should also lead your arms and be the first thing back in the water on the recovery. Your hands are diving in too deep. Try to lay those arms on the surface with your chest and head below your arms. Don't rush the catch but let it form without effort as the boyancy in you chest brings it back up to the surface naturally. Then you can apply a strong pull and finish as you kick hard. Be sure you are fully exhaled on the kick so you can sneak your breath quick and get your head back in line as early in the recovery as possible. When you do this you will find your second kick can be smaller to maintain body position and you will exert less overall effort.

February 27th, 2010, 11:29 PM
In this video of Mike Cavic you can see that he uses a fairly narrow hand entry and pulls pretty much straight back. It's interesting to contrast his stroke with Phelp's. The only two people to swim 100m LCM fly under 50s and they have quite different strokes.

Anyway, listen to his coach's explanation of hand entry and catch, not too far into the video. The press the hips description might not be a good one. In any case in my own experimentation I'm finding that the narrower entry and then pulling straight back seems to be working for me, the reorientation from downhill to slightly uphill seems to occur naturally when using it. YMMV!

YouTube- Milorad Cavic - Serbian Silver Medalist trains at The Race Club

February 27th, 2010, 11:42 PM
Good video. No outsweep and nice high elbows.

Hey sjstewart, did you see how high he kept his hands at the surface from entry to catch in the beginning of the video?? He was also looking down. Try no breath 25's without lifting your head. When Cavic no breathes, you can't even see his head from the surface view.

February 28th, 2010, 07:48 AM
That is a terrific video.

It taught me the secret: I'll look a lot faster if I add a thumping techno soundtrack to my video!

Seriously, though, I can absolutely see in Cavic's stroke the points you guys are making, and Cavic's coach's description for using the core/hips to engage the pull is a good one.

rtodd, I can absolutely tell that my head is too high -- both from video and now from feel. I can keep it lower when I work on it, although I'm not yet at the point where my face enters first. The Cavic video has some really great shots of that, but it will take work for me.

When I don't breathe, my stroke is definitely much better. If I didn't need oxygen, it would be a much easier stroke, that's for sure.

I'll also work on a softer, shallower entry.

February 28th, 2010, 11:18 AM
In this video of Mike Cavic you can see that he uses a fairly narrow hand entry and pulls pretty much straight back. It's interesting to contrast his stroke with Phelp's. The only two people to swim 100m LCM fly under 50s and they have quite different strokes. Canadian Master swimmer Daniel Lepine, National Record holder over 200m Butterfly Short Course (2:14, his PB over the distance is 2:02 at earlier age).

He would bring both hands (during the recovery) to touch each other prior entering in the water. In fact, they would clap together. Can't get any closer as a hand entry. Clean entry thumbs down. Yet, 2:14 over 200m bf at age 44 with around 10-15k of training per week, most of it done during lunch time.

Probably requires more pulling power. And outsweep is probably required (with force being applied instead of backward).
Very clean hand entry. Virtually no spash since both hands enter in the water together thumbs down.

- - -
extremely interesting clip btw. thanks.