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In the 200 or 400 IM, how you handle the butterfly can mean the difference between a great race...and a very painful race.
For me, the butterfly leg is all about easy speed. I want to be out fast, but not exert myself too much.
I do this by laying off the legs a little bit, and concentrating on body position -- getting my power from the chest and hips.
By working the chest and hips, I conserve energy but at the same time I can be a little aggressive and not lay back all the way. The chest and hips give me easy speed.
The big thing on body position on butterfly is pressing down with your chest. Pressing the chest gets your whole butterfly motion moving.
I try to press the chest down at the top of the stroke -- right as the hands are entering.
As my chest goes down, my hips go up, and this lets me get power out of my core, and not just from my arms and legs.
When I think about head and eye position on butterfly, the main thing is to keep my head down and to keep looking down and not forward -- except when I start to come up for the breath.
But even during the breath, I try to keep my head tilted down. If you were standing at the end of the pool, you’d see a little bit of my face, but it’s not like a full-on front shot of my face. I try to breathe as low as possible.
Another key concept on head and body position is that the head goes in first -- before the hands. And when the head goes in, it stays higher than the chest.
This overall body position -- chest down with hips, arms and head UP -- helps my pull and recovery, which we’ll talk about in the next section.