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Step #5: Butterfly Breathing
The best way to think of breathing in butterfly is that it’s an extension of the body motion – and very much connected to the pull.
I often teach butterfly breathing by telling the swimmer to breathe when they start the pull.
In reality, the breath comes later in the pull, but new butterfliers need to know that early in the pull, they will be going to air.
By keeping the head and neck in line with the spine, the swimmer should feel the top of the head move forward… to clear the mouth for a breath of air.
As the swimmers begin the press on the water with their hands and forearms, and they feel themselves moving forward, they should know they are going for air.
I demonstrate like this.
I teach this by having the swimmers isolate one breath with a pull.
They start in butterfly float and look at the floor of the pool. When they start the pull they should think of moving forward for air, and then return the face to the water before the arms land out front.
When I teach butterfly breathing, I teach the “two befores.”
I tell them, “You breathe before your arms come out of the water, and you return your face to the water before the arms land.