FINIS Tip Of The Week: Butterfly With A Snorkel


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Welcome to the “FINIS Tip of the Week.” Swimming World will be bringing you a topic that we’ll explore with drills and concepts for you to implement with your team on a regular basis. While certain weeks may be more appropriate for specific levels of swimming (club, high school, college, or masters), each tip is meant to be flexible for your needs and inclusive for all levels of swimming.

This week’s tip is to add a snorkel when working on your butterfly, which we know may seem counterintuitive. The breath is so intrinsically connected to the undulation in butterfly that also affects the pull, recovery, and kick. But there are many ways that using a snorkel can help correct some of the most common technical flaws in butterfly.

The biggest advantage to using a snorkel when swimming butterfly may be that it helps to flatten out the stroke. While you need to have undulation for butterfly to be effective, you also need to make sure the legs, hips, and core are all working together to drive the swimmer forward.

We’ve all seen the butterflier who gets stuck going up and down more than they are driving forward. Using a snorkel helps limit the amplitude of that undulation and keep everything connected in a tighter, slimmer profile.

Along with a tighter undulation, a snorkel will also allow swimmers get to a higher tempo in their stroke. Adding fins or doing flutterfly (butterfly with flutter kick) with a snorkel can be a useful way to get in a different kind of speed training.

It can also make swimmers aware of any pause in their strokes. Since there is no need to lift the head to breath, swimmers can focus on a lower, smooth recovery that gets into an early catch. Once you take the snorkel off, any inconsistencies in the stroke’s rhythm will be much more noticeable and able to be corrected.

All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.