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Thread: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

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    When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    In Matt Donovan's article from 4-Feb-2019 entitled, "Four ways to make butterfly easier" he mentions when to breath as one of his points. To quote: (CAPS emphasis is mine.)

    "Another big mistake that swimmers make is breathing too late. If you see your hands or forearms, you know that the timing of your breath is late. Your breath should be initiated by picking your head up out of the water the instant your hands have ENTERED the water. Your breath should be taken at the surface DURING THE CATCH (the small out-sweep just before the pull) and into the start of the power phase of your stroke. Your head should go back into the water by the time your hands reach the midpoint of the recovery (straight out from your shoulders)."
    This seems backwards to me. I thought the butterfly breath happened as the hands are EXITING the water on the way to recovery over the water. I'm confused.

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    Very Active Member JPEnge's Avatar
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    No, he's definitely right. If you wait until your hands are exiting the water, you suddenly have you hands and your head out of the water at the same time, which is a sure ticket to making your legs drop, which is a really un-hydrodynamic position, which leads to fatigue, which leads to "going vertical" on the last 25 of a race.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Very Active Member Redbird Alum's Avatar
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Quote Originally Posted by BillRyan View Post
    ... I thought the butterfly breath happened as the hands are EXITING the water on the way to recovery over the water. I'm confused.
    What JPEnge said...

    But I understand our confusion. I remember so many coaches telling younger swimmers to "breathe in the back" referring to when the hands were finishing the pull. I have had to correct this more than anything else with my younger swimmers' butterfly. I tell them to breathe in the press, or breathe early.

    There are also a horribly lot of pictures of butterfliers with hands AND face up for the cameras!


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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    I vote with the majority......almost. I dont so much pick up my head as I use the pull to bring my face out of the water. I am actually starting my press (with chest) as my hands enter, and as the motion moves down into my torso during the early stages of my pull, that is when I lift my head

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    I agree that you shouldn't see tha arms, but the original recommendation seems a little early to me. If you lift your head at the catch it seems like that would prematurely break streamline. I think I lift my head during the power phase of the pull and lower it as my arms are recovering.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    I agree that you shouldn't see tha arms, but the original recommendation seems a little early to me. If you lift your head at the catch it seems like that would prematurely break streamline. I think I lift my head during the power phase of the pull and lower it as my arms are recovering.
    Me too. I was thinking about it a bit this morning. When my hands go in, my chest and head are down and my hips are up. My chest and head come up as I begin to pull, and my hips go down. I get the breath by poking my chin forward just a bit so that my mouth clears the water. I do try to get my head back down by the time my hands are by my midsection; but I don't breathe so early that I never see my hands or forearms at all.

    I am not a very good flyer, though. I think that good thoracic mobility (front-to-back, not twisting or bending side-to-side) is the key and I don't really have it.

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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    I agree sounds like itís stressing a little early, but maybe was to ingrain not breathing late.

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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Thanks everyone. I get it now. Breathing during the power phase.

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    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Check out Michael Phelps' breath timing in these screenshots from the 2012 Olympic Games. Speaks for itself!

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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Quote Originally Posted by Swimspire View Post
    Check out Michael Phelps' breath timing in these screenshots from the 2012 Olympic Games. Speaks for itself!

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    Yep. Initiate breath early, carry head forward through the recovery.
    400 IMer/200 backstroker in another life, now sprinter/breaststroker... Yeah, I don't know how that happened either!

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    I can't tell from the pictures when he breathes relative to the catch.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
    Allen

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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    I can't tell from the pictures when he breathes relative to the catch.

    This video includes a slow motion clip that shows it quite well. Watch it at the :10 mark:


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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Meanwhile, here's a clip of my fly. (Please don't laugh too hard!) I think the timing of my breath is correct; however, I'm sure there is plenty more you could say about my stroke. OP, keep in mind I am a 57-year-old breastroker, and I rank near the bottom of the heap in 200 butterfly!
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    To All,

    There is one aspect of fly/breast (the short axis strokes) that has not been touched on and it can be a very subtle point (ourswimmer touched on part of it).

    The beginning of the fly stroke is a combination of two things: the catch and the arm/hand press downward/backward coupled with an upward "press" in the middle of the back between the scapulae (the opposite of a "T" press in the other direction). This upward press lifts the upper torso which results in the hips dropping a bit. This makes it possible to "jut" your chin forward (like Phelps) to breathe instead of lifting your head upward which really drops your hips.

    Many butterflyers, without realizing it, press downward with their chest AND their arms at the beginning of the stroke. Because their chest is down during the pull, they are forced to breathe at the end of the stroke and during the recovery. This means they see their arms during the recovery. Not a good thing.

    I always told my swimmers: when you pull, your chest is higher than your hips. And, it stays this way until right before the arms/hands enter the water to begin the next stroke. BTW, same thing applies to breaststroke.

    Windrath

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Phelps is clearly raising his head in the power part of th pull, not at the catch. Thanks Elaine.

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    Very Active Member Swimspire's Avatar
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Stark View Post
    Phelps is clearly raising his head in the power part of th pull, not at the catch. Thanks Elaine.
    Allen, in a way, you are right. Michael does breathe during the power phase of the stroke. To be more specific, Bob Bowman once explained that "Michael takes his breath at the end of the arm stroke, just before the hands exit the water. I like for Michael to remember that the head leads the hands, the head emerges for the breath before the hands exit the water and the head submerges prior to the hand entry after the over-water phase"
    Last edited by Swimspire; February 13th, 2019 at 11:40 PM.

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    Very Active Member Allen Stark's Avatar
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    I always told my swimmers: when you pull, your chest is higher than your hips. And, it stays this way until right before the arms/hands enter the water to begin the next stroke. BTW, same thing applies to breaststroke.

    In BR it seems to me that the chest should not begin to rise until the insweep. Your chest is naturally lifted up by the insweep and this way allows one to stay streamlined longer.
    "To strive,to seek,to find,and not to yield" Tennyson
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Hi Allen,

    A very subtle point. Phelps is not raising his head. His body is raising up which makes it possible to breathe. The "upward" press and the catch is what raises the upper body relative to the hips which allows the head to surface and breathe.

    Beginner swimmer lift their head to breathe instead of breathing when their body position is optimal - which is what Phelps does. By breathing when he does, it does not require extra exertion.

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    Very Active Member ourswimmer's Avatar
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    Re: When to breath in Butterfly - article posted 4-Feb-2019

    Quote Originally Posted by Windrath View Post
    Phelps is not raising his head. His body is raising up which makes it possible to breathe. The "upward" press and the catch is what raises the upper body relative to the hips which allows the head to surface and breathe.
    Certainly I do try to minimize my head's movement relative to my spine, and not just because I have a cervical fusion.

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