Learn to Swim Butterfly: Easy Butterfly Drill

Easy Butterfly is the final swimming drill in our series to learn to the butterfly stroke. The video below shows this drill:

Video ThumbnailEasy Butterfly is a drill to learn how to swim butterfly with good form while avoiding struggle. This is important for achieving an effective stroke.

As you can see above, the Easy Butterfly drill is uncomplicated: you do a few butterfly stroke cycles at the beginning of a length, then switch to another swim stroke to avoid fatigue. This keeps your muscles fresh and you can swim more lengths of butterfly with correct form.

Drill Instructions

  • Push off the wall in a prone streamlined position, then take a butterfly stroke.
  • Switch to a less exhausting swimming stroke, for example front crawl, for the rest of the length.
  • Repeat for a few lengths.
  • Repeat the drill but now take two butterfly strokes before switching to another swim stroke.
  • Repeat for a few lengths.
  • Repeat the procedure, starting each length with three butterfly stroke cycles.
  • And so on…

Additional Tips

  • Only take as few butterfly stroke cycles per length as you can do without becoming tired.
  • In the first step, don’t breathe during the butterfly stroke cycles. Later on, add breathing every other stroke cycle.
  • Swim in a relaxed way to recover once you switch to the other swim stroke.

Swimming Butterfly

Once you have practiced the above drill, it is time to swim whole lengths of butterfly. At first alternate butterfly lengths with lengths using another swim stroke. Then increase this ratio to two butterfly lengths per other swim stroke length.

With practice, you can progress to a ratio of three to one, or even four to one. Always maintain proper form, however. Switch to another stroke when you become tired.

You can also experiment with alternating breathing and non-breathing strokes to see which combination allows you to get enough air without tiring too fast. Non-breathing strokes are less tiring but restrict oxygen availability.

Butterfly Swimming Video

Video ThumbnailA demonstration of the butterfly swim stroke.


If you have made it so far, you should be able to swim butterfly with relative ease. This puts you in the restricted circle of swimmers that have mastered the butterfly stroke. Congratulations!

It pays off to return to those butterfly stroke drills from time to time to improve your technique. And while you’re at it, have a look at our series of drills to learn the other swim strokes.

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