Skip to Content

Learn to Swim Butterfly: Easy Butterfly Drill

Easy Butterfly is the final drill in our series of swimming drills to learn to the butterfly stroke.

The Easy Butterfly drill is a simple variation of whole stroke butterfly.

You do a few butterfly stroke cycles at the beginning of a length, then switch to another less exhausting swimming stroke, such as front crawl, to avoid fatigue.

A novice swimmer who practices the easy butterfly drill for the butterfly stroke.

This keeps your muscles fresh and you can swim more lengths of butterfly with correct form.

Video Demonstration

The video below illustrates the Easy Butterfly drill:

Drill Instructions

  • Push off the wall, get into a prone streamlined position, then execute one butterfly stroke cycle.
  • Switch to a less exhausting swimming stroke for the rest of the length, such as front crawl.
  • Do this for a few lengths.
  • After a few lengths of executing one butterfly stroke cycle, increase the number of cycles to two.
  • Again, do this for a few lengths.
  • After a few lengths, switch to three butterfly stroke cycles per length.

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

Below you can see me swim butterfly in a relaxed way:


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.

Learning Path for the Butterfly Stroke

Below is an overview of our series of articles on learning the butterfly stroke. Each article in this series contains one or more drills that have to be mastered. The current article is highlighted:

Once you have gone through all the steps of this learning path, you should be able to swim butterfly without any problems.

Good luck!


Thursday 17th of January 2019

Thank you so much for all these!


Friday 18th of January 2019

You're welcome, Aly.