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Representing Great Britain at the 2016 Rio Olympics, James Guy won silver in the 4 X 200 freestyle relay AND in the 4 X 100 medley relay, where he swam the butterfly leg. His fastest time in the 100-meter fly, long course, is 50.67 seconds.
In this lesson, we’ll take a closer look at James’s butterfly, trying to identify the things he does, that all swimmers could do.
Many things catch our eye with James’s stroke, and the best way to learn from him is to focus on one thing at a time. What strikes us first is James’s steady rhythm and the fact that he takes two kicks per armstroke. He places one down-kick as the hands enter and extend forward… and the second down-kick as the hands begin to sweep back and out for the recovery.
As you watch James progress from a slower pace to faster pace, focus just on his two-kicks-per-armstroke timing and how he maintains a steady rhythm, no matter how fast he’s swimming.
Another thing we notice about James’s butterfly is THIS…his LINE.
This is just a beautiful, classic line for butterfly. The arms are fully extended through the shoulders. The hands are high in the water with fingers slightly separated and relaxed. The head and neck are in neutral alignment, with eyes looking down. The chest and rib cage are deep in the water. The hips are high – with the suit right at the surface. The kick is delivered with toes pointed. This is everything we want to see on a butterfly bodyline.
As you watch James go from slow to fast, keep watching his LINE. The extension forward – never down – with the hands and arms. The hips ALWAYS near the surface. The chest always deep in relation to the hands and head.
James breathes every stroke in butterfly. Watch for that but – more important – notice that his face and almost his entire head are back in the water before the hands enter. This is excellent timing of the breath. It helps DRIVE the arms through the recovery and helps the hips to ride high in the water. As you watch slow to fast, watch how the early entry of the face helps James achieve a horizontal bodyline on every stroke.