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Dolphin - swimming style


Butterfly - style of swimming on the chest, during which the athlete performs simultaneous and symmetrical movements of the left and right parts of the body. With both hands, the swimmer makes a powerful wide stroke, during which the upper part of the body rises above the water, while simultaneously performing symmetrical kicks “from the pelvis”. This style is considered the second fastest after the rabbit on the chest.

Swimming method dolphin is a high-speed version of the butterfly stroke style. The dolphin swimming technique is distinguished by the movement of the legs: they move in a vertical plane up and down (like the movements of the dolphin tail). In a classic butterfly stroke, the legs are breaststroke.

Dolphin Swimming Technique

Movements are performed symmetrically: hands make a stroke in the water, and then simultaneously sweep over the water, legs and torso perform active wave-like movements. The most widespread is the two-shock dolphin, where the cycle of movements consists of one stroke of the hands, two kicks, inhale and exhale.

Swimming style butterfly stroke

Translated from English, “butterfly” means “butterfly”. Indeed, the swimmer, when lifting with a symmetrical flap of the upper limbs, resembles the movement of the wings of this elegant and beautiful insect.

Often the type of swimming butterfly stroke is identified with a dolphin. These are the most difficult styles, because when they are performed, almost all muscle groups are involved with their simultaneous work. The swimmer is moved on the chest with parallel and symmetrical strong arms. In this case, the front part of the body emerges from the water, and the legs carry out undulating slides and blows in the water. In addition to special physical stress, butterfly and dolphin require the observance of a special breathing system, different from other styles. Each succession cycle consists of one hand stroke, two kicks, inhale and exhale.

For athletes, special qualification standards are established that are carried out in a 25- and 50-meter pool. According to them, for each time for which the swimmer is able to overcome the specified distance, the following can be assigned:

  • discharge (I, II, III),
  • title of candidate for master of sports (CCM),
  • title of master of sports (MS),
  • the title of master of sports of international class (MSMK).

What's the Difference

In the classic performance, butterfly legs are moving with a breaststroke (pulling up the hips with breeding the foot, pushing and joining the feet). Dolphin appeared with the improvement of butterfly stroke with a bias towards greater swiftness in overcoming distances. It is believed that slipping the legs in it is most natural.

Dolphin as a swimming style got its name due to the movements of the athlete's body, similar to a real frolic dolphin. This is a high-speed butterfly type, in which the movement of the joined legs occurs in one plane, resembling the tail of a mammal.

Swimming technique

During execution, the muscles of the shoulder, triceps, back, abs, chest, hips, calves are involved. Due to so much muscle effort, the dolphin swimming style is considered the most energy-consuming of all. The body of the swimmer moves up and down during the entire route.

Starting position: the body is in a straight position, chest down, shoulders are parallel to the surface of the water, legs are connected, arms are straight ahead in front of the head.

When the upper body moves forward and down, the pelvis rises up, and the legs push and swiftly go down. Then there is a change: the shoulders rise, the hips and pelvis fall, the ankles fly up, making a blow. The angle of raising and lowering the body above water is 20 °.

The wave movements of the body are achieved due to the tension of the broad muscles of the back and abs. Teaching this style in swimming schools begins at the age of 12. Up to this age, butterfly stroke technique (like breaststroke) is very difficult to master.

Hand movement

The distribution of driving forces is as follows:

  • 10% of the physical effort is on the legs,
  • 90% of physical effort is directed to the hands.

As can be seen from the statistics, the hands perform the main work when swimming to give speed.

There are five phases of hand position in a single swimming cycle of the butterfly stroke type:

  1. Sweeping hands over the surface. At the same time, the arms straighten, performing a swing each on its own side, and the shoulder girdle is pushed out of the water. During execution, the hands turn outward, they should be the first to touch the water at the end of the maneuver.
  2. Hand immersion. The butterflyist performs a jerk forward, pushing his shoulders and arms.
  3. The shock of the stroke. Hands in the water are bent, hands and forearms help to perform supporting swings, after which the hands are spread apart.
  4. The decisive phase of the stroke. The angle of bending of the hands reaches 90 °, during their energetic extension and pulling, active repulsion takes place. Further, the arms extend along the body, the hands are located in the hips.
  5. The hands relax, putting their hands above the water. The elbows should come out first.

Features of the legs

During the movement, the legs are located nearby and carry out continuous fluctuations in the region of the lower leg in the vertical plane up and down. The swimmer's body actively helps in making these vibrations. The first two attacks kick the shoulders above the water, the second two - the back.

The feet are at an angle of 45 ° in a medium-stressed state. Feet seem to turn into the tail of a dolphin, making precise hits.

The breathing technique when swimming with the dolphin style is associated with the position of the hands and their phase during work. The first phase (carrying over water) is considered more convenient for inspiration. Head and shoulders are in their highest position. The duration of the breath is about 0.5 seconds.

After inhalation, the face is immersed in water, arms and shoulders are lowered down. All the remaining time until a new phase is the expiratory time. This type of breathing is considered optimal for swimmers (on average, 50-60 breaths per minute).

However, professional athletes, due to the high speed of execution and in order to increase efficiency, can perform 2-3 full cycles of the position of the hands in one breath-exhale.

How to learn to swim with a dolphin

It is best to train, hone skills and point out errors that will help in a swimming school. For independent development of technology, you can use the instructions:

  1. Train on land. Make wave-like body movements forward, starting from the head and following it with the whole body. Observe yourself in the mirror, when the movements are smooth and even, you can immerse yourself in water.
  2. When swimming in water, try to sway, repeating wave-like movements. This may not work out right away. When the position in the water becomes comfortable, proceed to the next step.
  3. Connect your legs and keep them close, not apart.
  4. So that your hands do not interfere with swimming, press them to the hips along the body. This position will allow you to swim faster.
  5. Perform movements, add hand swings, exercise longer. To improve the technique of swimming "dolphin" in the initial training can help the board for swimming - hold on to it while moving.
  6. The driving force of a swimmer by a dolphin is 75% dependent on the flexibility of his ankles. Developing it, you will improve your technique and speed. The size of the ankle can also affect the longer it is, the more efficient the activity is.

Dolphin under water

In open waters, the dolphin swimming style is often used underwater. Some of its features:

  • arms are extended with an “arrow” in front of you,
  • legs and body perform wave-like movements, as in the usual version,
  • inhalation is done before diving, usually with greater strength and volume,
  • exhalation is done under the nose with water.

Execution errors

When learning to swim with the dolphin style, due to its complex technique, the following errors may occur:

  1. Incorrect or missing pelvic work. When viewed from the side, it seems as if the main movement is due to the work of the hands. But the wave-like movements of the body are important, this result is largely achieved due to the movement of the pelvis.
  2. Incorrect foot movements. It must be ensured that they are not too close to the surface of the water and do not rise from it. It is also important to control the synchronism of their work and the inadmissibility of flexion in the knee.
  3. Wrong hand work. When performing the "dolphin" technique, the arms should be shoulder width apart. Close proximity will not allow more accurate swings, and a greater distance between the arms increases resistance and takes the swimmer's strength.
  4. Violation of the rhythm of breathing. Performing inspiration at the right time on the rise while maintaining breathing and exhaling will help maintain an appropriate rhythm.

How to swim

Butterfly (dolphin) is the most difficult style to perform (although some consider the breaststroke to be more complex). In order to achieve high speeds, physical effort alone is not enough. The main difficulties of butterfly stroke are the simultaneous work of all parts of the body and the respiratory mechanism, which is very different from other styles.

During the swimming process, a maximum of muscle groups is involved: triceps, shoulders, latissimus dorsi, abs, chest muscles, rectus femoris and calf muscles.

How to swim butterfly? This style swim on the chest, swimmer's hands perform simultaneous and sweeping strokes, and legs and pelvis make wave-like movements.

It looks like this:

Step by step, this technique is also well depicted in this illustration:

Now let's take a closer look at each of the elements.

Dolphin torso movement

In the process of swimming, the body of a person constantly moves up and down, all movements are associated with breathing and limb function.

While the shoulders and upper back move forward and down, the lower back and pelvis rise, while the feet rush down. Conversely, when the shoulder girdle rises, the lower back lowers, and the feet rise to the surface to strike.

Body wave motion

The body should make wave-like movements, primarily due to the tension of the muscles of the press and back. From the side of the observer, the swimmer's body moves along a wave-like trajectory, making it look like a dolphin or fish.


The legs in the butterfly are located nearby and make wave-like movements starting in the lumbar region and ending in the lower legs. These movements are a continuation of the undulating movements of the body.

The efforts from the work of the legs are aimed at lifting the upper body of the swimmer out of the water - the first two kicks (weak down and strong up) help to raise the head and shoulders, the second two - backs.

The legs work with medium amplitude, during the stroke the pelvis and buttocks of the swimmer rise to the surface of the thieves, the hips rise behind them. After that, the pelvis and hips fall down, and the legs bend at the knees for the next blow.

The legs work is somewhat reminiscent of a crawl, but the differences are still obvious: limbs work simultaneously, but not in turn, and other muscle groups are involved. In addition, the feet in motion are not stretched away from themselves, like in a rabbit, but are in a slightly stressed state at about an angle of 45 °.

The similarity is that the movements from the knees are the same as in the rabbit - the leg seems to be turning into a whip that kicks. Accordingly, during swimming, the angle between the thigh and lower leg first decreases, and then increases, and so on until the end of the cycle.

And just like in a rabbit, the movement of the lower leg does not come from the knee, but from the whole body: in this case, the back bends first, then the lower back and hips, and then the lower part of the legs.

The leg technique is well shown here:

Hand movement features

Hands make powerful strokes, after which they are thrown back forward. Consider each of these phases in more detail.

From the start, the movements are similar to the work of the hands during a breaststroke: they fall into the water with their palms down and each diverge in its own direction.

Further bent arms diverge around the body, with the elbows above the forearms and hands.

Then the speed of the hands increases, a push is created, due to which a strong stroke occurs, as a result of which the upper body rises.

When the elbows are approaching the pelvis, the stroke ends and the return phase begins.

Return to starting position

In the return phase, the arms quickly move forward, remaining subsequently shoulder-width apart. Hands are carried in a relaxed state, elbows are not bent.

Then the hands fall under the water, the hands are straightened at this moment and directed down with the thumbs.

The standard distance between the hands at the time of their descent and lowering is the width of the shoulders, but their narrower information is allowed, but increasing the distance is not recommended, since this will reduce the strength of the stroke.

When swimming with a dolphin, considerable attention should be paid to breathing. It is important to coordinate this process with the movement of the hands: the only possibility for air intake is when the shoulder girdle rises out of the water, and hands will be mixed forward above its surface.

When the arms are pulled back, the neck is activated, the head also rises at that moment, the swimmer's gaze is directed to the side in front and slightly down (for better balancing of the body).

While raising hands from the water, a person inhales, and a little earlier than their lowering into the water, the head drops.

The inspiratory moment is shown in this illustration:

It is better to exhale the air simultaneously with the mouth and nose., the latter prevents water from entering the nose.

Usually, swimmers breathe 1 time for a full cycle of hands, but many trained athletes breathe only for every second rise from the water, this saves energy on additional neck work and reduces the likelihood of hyperventilation.

Main mistakes

Since butterfly stroke is a technically difficult type of swimming, often beginners, as well as more experienced swimmers, are mistaken in the performance of one or another element of the cycle, because of which their speed decreases and their muscles tire much faster.

In addition, in some cases, technical flaws can be fraught with consequences in the form of injuries.

The most common mistakes when swimming with a dolphin include the following:

Lack of pelvic function

From the side (especially to a beginner athlete) it may seem that the work is done at the expense of hands and kicks. But actually a huge role in this form of swimming is played by wave-like body movements and first of all the pelvis - it is precisely due to them that the “wave” should go in the first place, and not due to kicks of the legs.

Improper hand position when entering water

The right butterfly technique is when your hands should be shoulder width, with a narrower setting, the shoulders are too submerged, which does not allow for a correct grip, and with a wider setting the water resistance increases, which slows down and tires the swimmer more.

Improper breathing

Non-optimal time of raising the head overstrain the neck, and also violates the rhythm of the entire movement cycle.

When turning, it is necessary to touch the side with both slightly bent hands.

The reversal is as follows: one arm begins to turn to the opposite bank, leading the hull behind itself, half-bent legs touch the side, then the body unfolds completely, assumes a position parallel to the bottom, the legs push away from the side, and the swimmer elongated into one line slides forward inertia.

During this, it is allowed to simultaneously work with legs, as with a rabbit. In the same way as at the start, the maximum distance of sliding under water at competitions is 15 meters.

Very good turns are shown here:

Technique under water

This style is often used not only for moving on the surface of the water, but also for swimming under water:

  • firstly, in this way you can dive and swim in open water,
  • secondly, in sports swimming in the pool, the start both in butterfly stroke and in the rabbit is done by diving under water and sliding with the dolphin kicking.

In order to move under the dolphin under water, you need:

  1. Extend your arms with the “arrow” in front of you. This is the main difference from the “classic” version, in which they are not stretched all the time, but make strokes.
  2. Legs and torso make wave-like movements, which are described above in this article.
  3. Breathing: before diving, you need to take a strong and voluminous breath, then gradually exhale under water with your nose or nose and mouth.

How it looks, you can see here:

Sports start

A sports start for butterfly is the same as for a rabbit - a jump from the side or side tables with his head into the water.

Starting position for start - standing, legs slightly bent, the body lowered at 90 ° or parallel to the water line, the feet are parallel to each other, the distance between them is about 20 centimeters.

The fingers are on the line of the side or the curbstone, the hands in a straight line are laid back or forward, so that the fingers are close to the edge of the surface of the support.

During the jump, the swimmer powerfully pushes his feet off the land, straightens them and dives into the water, arms extended above his head.

Diving should not be too shallow, but not to the bottom, идеальный угол наклона тела – 20-30°, он обеспечивает оптимальную глубину погружения и расстояние для скольжения. Скольжение сначала направлено немного вниз, потом –по горизонтальной линии, а после – к поверхности воды. If you have problems with diving, then you can help yourself with your hands, making them stroke from a position above the head to a position along the body, to the pelvis. Gliding is useful because during it the hands receive a minimum of load.

Tutorial for beginners

In this video tutorial, the technique of professionals is slow-motion:

And here you can look at this style performed by the most titled swimmer - Michael Phelps:

As you can see, a dolphin is not only a complex, but also an interesting style, having mastered that, you can train many muscle groups, as well as increase your endurance. But remember that swimming in a lesson in only one style can lead to muscle “clogging” and overwork, because for more effective development it is recommended to alternate different styles and not forget about relaxation to restore pulse and breathing.

Leg and torso movement

The swimmer performs wave-like movements with legs and torso with increasing amplitude from the shoulders to the middle part of the body, from the middle part of the body to the pelvis, from the pelvis to the hips, from the hips to the lower leg and feet. The whole cycle of wave-like movements ends with a strong blow of the feet from top to bottom (this is the main working movement of the legs). When the feet make an overwhelming blow down, the pelvis rises up, while the legs and feet move up, the pelvis vigorously drops down, the shoulder girdle moves forward and mute up.

When swimming with a two-hit dolphin, the wave-like movements of the upper body in the second half of the cycle at the time of completion of the stroke are minimized, since the swimmer must keep his shoulders at the surface and ensure that his arms are carried above the water. Therefore, the amplitude of the pelvic movements should be sufficient to ensure the transfer of wave-like movements to the legs, but not too strong so as not to cause the shoulders to swing.

Foot movements play a coordinating role and make a significant contribution to the creation of driving forces: when swimming with a dolphin using movements with one foot, approximately 70% of the swimming speed with full coordination of movements is achieved.

Style story

Standards for sports titles are implemented in the 25- and 50-meter pool:

Butterfly 50 m in the 25-meterMF
I category27,2531,25
II category30,2533,75
III category33,2536,75
Butterfly 50 m in the 50-meterMF
I category28,0032,00
II category31,0034,50
III category34,0037,50

Olympic distance 100 and 200 m.

Compliance conditions:

1. MSMK is assigned:
1.1. For fulfilling the norm in sports competitions having a status not lower than international sports competitions included in the ETUC.
1.2. For the norms marked with the “*” sign, for the fulfillment of the specified norms in sports competitions having a status not lower than international sports competitions included in the European Championship, Russian Championship, Russian Cup.
2. MS is assigned:
2.1. For fulfilling the standards in official sports competitions not lower than the status of the championship of the federal district, zone qualifying competitions, championships and championships of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
2.2. With the mandatory use of an electronic timing system.
3. The CCM is assigned:
3.1. For compliance with the norm in competitions not lower than the status of official sports competitions of a subject of the Russian Federation.
3.2. For fulfilling the norm at the official sports competitions of the municipality in the presence of three timekeepers on each track.
3.3. According to the results of manual timing, only sports categories can be assigned. Hundredths of a second are not taken into account.
4. I, II, III sports categories and youth sports categories are awarded for fulfilling the norm in competitions of any status.

History of style [edit |