View Full Version : Butterfly versus butterfrog:

December 8th, 2006, 07:10 AM
This may be a repeat, sorry, but I think it deserves some more discussion. I was a "mediocre" (B team) high school swimmer. I swam the 200 I.M. and the 100 butterfly, pretty much because that was what was left for me to swim. In 1967 you could change your kick in the high school butterfly, at the begining of a pool length. So I swam the first 75 yards dolphin kick (one kick only) and did the last 25 yards with the frog kick (again, only frog, no small dolphin kick). Now I am 55 years old, returned to swimming in September 2004, after doing no swimming since 1968. I train three times a week with a group of masters with a coach (I do swim on my own a couple of days more. Our practices last about an hour with an average 2,000 meters total. I swim mostly freestyle and occasionaly will swim the 50 meter butterfly at a meet. Somehow I am now doing the double kick dolphin kick and gliding more at the end of each cycle, which my coach says is bad, but which I do because if I don't, I'll slip fast into a butterstruggle. One of these days I went back to my old one dolphin kick only and no glide at the end of the cycle and swam faster for 25 meters in practice. Then I figured I could do it at a meet and swam 50 meters long course using this method. I practically died at the flags doing the last 7 meters in weird shape and form. The guy with the stopwatch asked me if I was okay, and I said, yes and slowly got out of the pool and recuperated. I just went into extreme oxygen debt and/or fatigue, but 50 meters (?), nothing dangerous or harmful could or would happen. Okay, I know I should go to a pool with a stopwatch and do time trials of the different strokes I am able to perform. I will do that. Here is my question, for longer distances and in my case for the 50 yard or meter long or short course butterfly: give me input on three options please: 1- get into better shape and do the one dolphin kick all out butterfly with no gliding, 2- do the two kick dolphin kick with gliding but make it more efficient, and 3- practice and perform the butterfrog with gliding (as shown here in a video) and make that my only method of swimming the butterfly. Thanks for any input, especially tips on how to make the frog and glide more efficient, or make the two kick dolphin kick more efficient with less gliding, or how go get through a 50 meter butterfly without dying in the last 10 meters, billy fanstone

The Fortress
December 8th, 2006, 08:50 AM
We may have exhausted our comments on this one. I think Allen Stark had some good points about gliding in the prior "Butterfrog Video Posted" thread. In case anyone gets cranky, I'm posting my "sweetness and light" poem based on the kids' poem the Owl and the Pussycat.

The Fly and the Frog

The Fly and the Frog went to battle
On a cantankerous masters thread.
The opposite of honey, it was nonetheless funny.
Bickering til almost dead.
The Fly averred Frog swam extremely odd,
and refused his pure stroke to mar:
Oh, Ugly Frog, O Ugly Frog, my god,
What an ugly frog you are.
You are.
You are.
What an Ugly Frog you are.

Frog cursed at the Fly, Ill spit in your eye.
How vicious you are when you sting.
O let us co-exist. How can you resist?
It tis the only right thing.
They argued away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Dictator led.
There, smelling a rat, the Dictator sat
With a crown perched on his head.
His head.
His head.
With a crown perched on his head.

Fly asked, Are you willing to sell for one shilling,
Your rule? Said the D, I will.
Wait, the Frog said, I will surely be dead.
If that new fly you make me swim.
So they dined on stew and some GU gels too.
Which they ate with a breaststroke fin.
And, hand in hand, by the edge of the sand
They raced to see who would win.
Who would win.
Who would win.
They raced to see who would win.

They raced to a dead heat, fly-frogging a beat.
How lyrically smooth each swam.
Oh let us not wish; you both are rare fish.
The Dictator said like a lamb.
They sailed back to the pool, to embrace an old rule.
To the land of the hard-headed mule.
With the crown on his head, the Dictator said.
In the pool, youve both won a place.
A place.
A place.
Youve both won a place to race.

Caped Crusader
December 8th, 2006, 09:26 AM
Nice poem, Fortress, but I'm not doing either of these strokes. Freetyle, baby. In the ocean. With a little body surfing too.

December 8th, 2006, 09:29 AM
Nice poem, Fortress, but I'm not doing either of these strokes. Freetyle, baby. In the ocean. With a little body surfing too.

Don't forget a liberal coating of lard...do OW swimmers do that still?

December 8th, 2006, 09:44 AM
What a cool poem and it proves we can co-exist. Hey, Rich, no lard in OW. They have found it makes the swimmer colder!!! Cold water OW use lanolin and some more lightweight things, but it is not basically to keep you warm, it is to prevent chafing.

Many OW women do it topless!!!

I'm with Rich, no butterfly or butterfroggin; freestyle is about all I can manage these days. But I will mention that I really didn't have much of a glide when I was doing fly. The two-beat kick, one on entry, one on exit kept me low to the water and moving forward.


December 8th, 2006, 09:50 AM
I'm with Rich, no butterfly or butterfroggin; freestyle is about all I can manage these days. Donna

That was Some_guy not me...I guess HE is YOUR secret crush :(

"What's that hissing?"
"Oh it's jut Rich's Ego deflating over there..."


Frank Thompson
December 8th, 2006, 10:05 AM
Billy Fanstone:

I think you have to determine what is best for you. My impression of what you explained is that you have a weak dolphin kick for something over 40 meters as you explained. I am not sure if you learned to swim fly using the butterfrog method. At lot of people in the 1950's learned to swim that way and they feel very comfortable with that style. It sounds like you learned the current style of fly and reverted to the butterfrog as a survival means of finishing the race and being verticle instead of horizontal. I see a lot of masters swimmers swim like that because they don't break stroke and actually finish faster than if they swam it the butterdolphin method. Also, the higher the distance like 100 and especially the 200 the more butterfrog to avoid butterstruggle.

I think it comes down to rhythm and timing of the arms and legs in the stroke. I would say that conditioning and practice would be very helpful like swimming butterfly every day and doing dolphin kicking to improve that area. To answer you question I like a combination and elimination of your points 1 and 2. Get in better shape, do two dolphin kicks without gliding. I have never seen a butterdolphiner do any gliding because it would disrupt the rhythm and timing of the stroke. I have seen butterfrogers do it because its natural and does not disrupt timing and rhythm of the arm and leg motion.

I would you say you could resort to option 3 and swim the butterfrog if you feel that you cannot master the technique of the rhythm and timing of both the arm pull and dolphin kick for distances of 100 and 200 meters. I think people in masters are real lucky to have this option because as of now no other swimming organization allows you to swim the butterfrog style.

December 8th, 2006, 06:59 PM
Im amazed at how much Ive learned about swimming in the past five years since I (for the first time) started my butterfly practice. The biggest revelation has been the importance of core body strength.

I think a glide is OK in fly, and can be incorporated w/o causing serious damage to the timing. Personally I find a glide necessary most of the time, especially on longer distances. You may not get 1st at the meet, but a personal record in fly is better than no record at all.

I think dolphin kick is the only way to go. Ive found it extremely helpful to do various lengths of dolphin kick sets on my back, arms straight in front (no kick board). This is the only drill Ive ever consistently done, and I still do it.

To get fly right, you have to think "forward", not "up".

Ive never used fins, but it is pretty obvious to me that they can help a lot to get over the critical points in technique development.

Conditioning is important, but good timing and technique is everything. You will probably never be happy w/ your fly until you get an in-depth understanding of the movements and how they are coordinated. Fly is by far the most sensitive to this, but getting it right has major rewards.

Ive compiled some of my ideas and resources here:
I rarely post this link (it is currently a blind page), and it could use some updates, but I hope it helps you.

With enough practice and study you will likely be able to find a technique, or even a variety of techniques that will be right for you (for different speeds and distances).

For me the ultimate test is how well I can keep my form at the end of my practice session (when Im the most tired).

I practice fly every time I swim. I love my abs now! :-D

December 8th, 2006, 07:01 PM
Thanks Skip. And also thanks for the poem Fortress. Interestingly, although I died at the end of the 50 meters (long pool) I did have a better time by two seconds than my previous 50 meters long, a year ago. But, a year ago I was very conservative and swam so slowly that I came out of the pool feeling refreshed and not tired at all. I had been badly beaten by my first ever 200 freestyle swim in a 50 meter pool a couple of hours before, so I was scared. That swim was with the two beat dolphin kick, but with a lot of gliding. In March I'll probably swim the 50 meter fly in a short pool when I can recuperate and go with the dolphin kick all the way. I will try and better my style with no gliding while doing the second kick also. Thanks again, billy fanstone.
P.S. The only other guy I've seen doing the butterfrog (mixed with one dolphin kick per cycle) is a former age group champion in Brasil, of the breastroke style. He is part of the 10 best breastrokers in Brasil within his age group (55-60). He uses the butterfrog when swiming 200 I.M. or 100 and 200 butterfly, when they have those events in a separate day than the breastroke. However, being a breaststoker he glides and does a good job and is efficient. He also glides a lot when doing the breastroke, as it use to be done (except for the no water above the head rule, back then).

Allen Stark
December 8th, 2006, 10:58 PM
I'd definitely practice the double dolphin fly. It will be fastest for as long as you can do it. If your stroke begins to get ragged you can switch to butterfrog instead of butterstruggle. In masters you can change between them in mid-length if you wish.

December 9th, 2006, 02:55 AM
bottom line is if you have to do this butter frog instead of real fly, just dont do fly at all.

December 9th, 2006, 05:09 AM
bottom line is if you have to do this butter frog instead of real fly, just dont do fly at all.

I am tending to agree to that. Why all the suffering when I have a perfectly good freestyle? However, every now and then I like to do the 100 I.M. where I finish the first 25 butterfly okay, although winded as I come out of the back to the breast. But that is a question of training, not technique. As for switching to frog during the swim, it is legal, but a tad difficult when you begin to butterstruggle to switch as the momentum isn't there or the neurofacilitation (changing the style during the swim and not at the wall is harder). Thanks for the input. billy fanstone