Tips for getting butterfly right

Getting butterfly right isn’t easy. It is the most difficult stroke to learn and takes a lot of energy to swim. Learning the main swimming strokes comes after you have mastered the basic skills of swimming. This is during Stage 3 of the Learn to Swim Pathway for adults learning to swim. But the strokes can take a lifetime to master.

If you feel you need more help with swimming before tackling butterfly you may want to consider lessons. Track down your nearest pool using PoolFinder and ask them about adult lessons. If you feel you already have the basics of butterfly nailed we have collated some tips to help you further below.

We have also used helpful videos from Speedo that break down the movements to help you learn.

Tips for getting butterfly right

  1. Float on your front with your face in the water, stretching your body as long as possible.
  2. Undulate your body from head to toes, in a whipping motion, bending and straightening your knees. Keeping your legs and feet close together, push down on the water with the top of your feet and keep your feet just under the surface of the water.
  3. Enter both hands in the water at the same time, in line with your shoulders. Pull your arms under the body through to your hips. Recover your arms over the water surface ready to begin again.
  4. Push your chin forward to take a breath; the breath should be taken towards the end of the pull. As your arm sweeps over the water return your face back into the water and breathe out. Perform two kicks to each arm cycle, kicking at the start of the arm pull and towards the end of the pull “Kick your arms in, kick your arms out”.


This video from Speedo will help you with your arm movement.

Body Position

This video from Speedo will help you with your body position.


This video from Speedo will help you with your kicking action.