Will You Please Critique My Butterfly and Breaststroke?

Will you please critique my butterfly?  I have posted this request many times in the past, but I continue to strive to improve my stroke.  At this point, excellent stroke technique is my goal rather than speed.  Distance fly is my preference, and I love competing in the 200 fly.  

Your constructive criticism is most appreciated!

Here's my breaststroke:

  • Easier to see in the side view shot here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56CPBzjY8aM

    Looks to me like you aren't getting much press with your chest just ahead of the pull.  Similarly/consequently, it looks like your kick isn't initiating in your core, so it makes the stroke look a little disjointed  Real hard to maintain that discipline, especially when you are tired at all.  I almost have to force myself to slam my head down into the water when I get like that, but that helps me get that undulation started properly, again.  You do a good job looking up to breathe, which helps keep the hips high, rather than trying to pull your shoulders higher.

  • Thanks for adding my link, '67.  I uploaded that video to YouTube, and then I forgot to include it in my post!  I had intended on showing both views.

    Thanks for your feedback, too!  More chest press should be an easy fix.  I was afraid to press too much, because I thought it would make my entire upper body dive down into the water.  I have worked on my chest and shoulder flexibility, though, and I am now very flexible; so, I should be able to press my chest without taking my arms down with it.

    You have given me some things to work on going into the new year, so thanks!

  • By the way, since you are really interested in the 200, you might check out Yajima Yuya, a Japanese 200 flyer who has been very successful with a slow tempo.  Carries his streamline a bit longer, so he has to take fewer strokes.  Hard to find a lot of videos on him, but it almost looks like an extended glide drill.  Just gotta be sure you don't fully submerge to stay legal.

  • Re: BR- I like your timing. I like the recovery of your hands and feet oh, they both look crisp. It's hard for me to see the pull out, but it looks like you're not recovering with your hands close to your body. I know you have some physical issues so take all of the rest of this with a grain of salt. Your pulll is very narrow and you're dropping your elbows. A good drill to work on this is dog paddle with a snorkel. With a snorkel you can go very slowly and with dog paddle you don't put as much stress on your shoulders and elbows as regular breaststroke pull in my experience. With your Kick, you're not getting your toes pointed out far enough. Ideally what you want to get them pointing perpendicular to your body to maximize the propulsive surface. Again this may be a physical limitation. A good safe drill to work on that is to lie down on your stomach and get your feet in the position of the breaststroke catch just pulling them with the with your muscles to get the toes pointed out as far as possible. Take care of yourself and don't do anything that inflames joints 

  • Thanks for the suggestion.  I couldn't find videos on YouTube, but I found him on a Google search.  He's in Lane 5 here in the video below.  One thing I would NEVER do is swim with that style of arm recovery!  It hurts my shoulders just watching it!  Michael Phelps is my role model for the perfect recovery.

  • Happy New Year, King Frog!  Thanks for the feedback on my breaststroke.  The width of my pull is in direct correlation to the health of my shoulders.  The worse they feel, the narrower the pull!  Following the holiday craft show season, they're a mess after all the table/booth set-up and take-downs we do.  By the end of January, I'm back to a wider pull; however, it is still narrower than most, per Dr. G's stroke analysis recommendations.  I'll watch the elbows, though; I didn't realize I was dropping them.  Same goes for the toes on the kick.  

    Regarding my recovery, that's great news!  I used to have problems getting my elbows in for a straight arm recovery, but I have really concentrated on that.  The same for trying to make it snappy and keeping my head lower.

    As for my pull-out recovery, I've gotten sloppy.  I should be able to get my arms in tighter without any problem, so I'll work on that.


  • There was a newer one I had seen a while back that I have been unable to find.  Agree on his recovery, for certain!  One of the things I am trying to work on is relaxing my recovery.  But the thing of value I see in his stroke, as a guy pushing 50, is that his tempo is more appropriate for the longer (200) fly, as it conserves much more energy than a faster tempo, and takes advantage of momentum to let one's body move further through the water with a given amount of energy exerted.  Example, and I'm going off of memory, so don't quote me:  The NQT for a 100 fly at my age is around 1:08.6.  But for a 200 it is about 3:00.1!  Now, my age group is an aberration, but it still speaks to the importance of energy conservation over speed.

  • I agree!  Speed has never been my goal in the 200 fly; it has always been about holding my best stroke technique throughout the race, even if I have to pause at the wall during the race.

    Swimming with a longer glide and more dolphin is how I was able to swim a non-stop 2,000-yard fly ten years ago when I was 50.  (I also did a 900, 1000, and several 500's.) It took me 44 minutes to swim the 2,000, but I did it!  The problem I had then was that I was diving down too much with my entire upper body instead so pressing just my chest.

    Evidently, while working on trying to eliminate too much up and down motion, I've gone too much the other way, which I will admit has hurt my ability to swim distance fly.  Hopefully, I can find a happy medium!