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Start Each Stroke with Arms in a “V” Position
When Karlyn swims butterfly, she thinks about landing her hands slightly wider than shoulder width -- and entering with her palms flat or with the pinky slightly in.

If we slow it down, you can see that Karlyn’s arms form a “V” when the hands enter. The fingertips aim toward the corners of the lane.

By entering wide, with the arms in a “V” position, Karlyn avoids any in-and-out motion of the hands, and gets directly into her catch.

From this angle you can see that Karlyn’s hands enter just wide of the shoulders...that they pull directly back, without coming too close to her centerline...and that the hands exit out to the sides rather than pushing all the way back to her thighs. The pull is quick and direct; the hands never get “stuck” at any point.

Use a High-Elbow Catch
With the arms in a “V” position, and hands pointed to the corners of the lane, Karlyn is in great position to POP the elbows to initiate a high-elbow catch.

With elbows high and fingertips now pointed down, Karlyn pulls directly back toward the hips, trying not to let her hands come near the middle -- or centerline -- of her body.

Karlyn points the hands...pops the elbows...and presses back with the forearms.

Know Where and How to Apply Power
Karlyn puts the umph -- the power -- at the front part of the pull. Her secret for generating maximum power is the wrist.

If we slow things down, you can see that Karlyn maintains a straight pulling surface from fingertips to elbow, and uses that surface to press water toward her feet. It’s the firm wrist that helps generate power.

She puts the umph in the front part of the pull. Once the hands reach the hips, Karlyn releases the power and shoots her hands out to the sides.

By releasing early and to the sides, Karlyn maintains a quick cadence with her arms, and this gives momentum to her arms as they recover over the water.

Karlyn tries to keep her arms low and relaxed as they recover over the water. She applies energy and power at the front of her pull...and tries to conserve energy during the recovery part of the pull.

Keep Head Neutral, Eyes Down, Hips High
Like all great butterfliers, Karlyn has an undulating stroke. But notice that the undulation is small and quick.

Her body flows through the water in a wave-like motion, but the amplitude of the wave is small. Karlyn’s focus is to keep everything moving forward, rather than having too much up-and-down movement with her body and hands.

Notice that as Karlyn’s hands enter the water, she sends them forward rather than down, and that her chest also lands forward rather than down.

Landing forward with the chest helps her maintain an ideal body position for butterfly -- with eyes looking down and hips up near the surface.

When Karlyn breathes, she keeps her head just above the surface of the water. She avoids any extra up-and-down movement with the head and neck. Also notice that during the breath, her eyes are oriented slightly down, rather than looking forward.

Finally, notice how Karlyn uses the timing of the breath to maintain good body position. As the hands catch and begin to pull, Karlyn goes immediately to air.

She takes a quick breath...and her head is back in the water before the hands enter the water. By keeping the head in neutral, keeping the eyes down, and keeping the breath quick and low, Karlyn avoids up-and-down motion and sends her energy forward.

Keep the Kick Small and Quick
In butterfly, you want to maintain momentum at all times. Karlyn does this by keeping everything small and quick. This goes for her undulation, her pull...and especially her kick.

From the side, you can see that Karlyn takes two kicks per armstroke. She kicks her hands in...and she kicks her hands out.

You can also see that Karlyn keeps the kick small and quick. Rather than kicking from the knees, she kicks from the core and from the hips.

As her chest goes in and forward, her hips go up, and this lets her get power out of her core. The feet simply follow along, with a small, quick, up-and-down motion.

Practice Relaxed Breathing
Butterfly can be an exhausting stroke. And swimmers make it more exhausting by holding their breath.

On every lap...at every practice...Karlyn works on relaxed breathing. In this clip, focus just on the bubbles that come from Karlyn’s nose. As the head lands forward, you can already see the bubbles. They’re not pushed out with a lot of force. Instead, Karlyn hums out her air. Watch how the stream of bubbles continues through one stroke cycle, then another stroke cycle, until Karlyn goes to air.

In this clip, watch for the steady stream of bubbles, but also notice how relaxed Karlyn’s face is. Her mouth is slightly open, which relaxes the jaw, which relaxes the entire body.

This kind of relaxation takes great concentration...on a daily basis. Start by relaxing the jaw, and then try to achieve the steady stream of bubbles. Butterfly will become a lot easier if you don’t hold your breath!