Is Freestyle or Butterfly Faster?

July 02, 2022 4 min read

When comparing the two types of swimming strokes, the butterfly was the first to be popularized. It wasn't invented in a flash, but by a few swimmers who were trying to perform out-of-water recoveries while swimming breaststroke. The International Swimming Hall of Fame recognizes Sydney Cavill as the poppa of the butterfly stroke, although his father Fred is credited as the first freestyler. German Erich Rademacher and Brooklyn's Henry Myers were racing in this new style in the 1920s. 


Are you swimming the Freestyle or Butterfly? If you are, you may be wondering how to improve your speed and technique and which is the fastest swim stroke. You might think that the only way to improve your speed is by practicing these two strokes more, but the truth is, both styles can increase your overall swimming time. Read on to learn the secrets of swimming faster. And, remember, it's all about having good technique. Listed below are some tips to improve your speed and technique.

1. Should you try Freestyle or Butterfly? The first question you must answer is whether you're faster in one stroke. Freestyle, also called the front crawl, is more efficient in the long run. While the butterfly requires that swimmers use both arms at once to breathe, the freestyle is more efficient with only one arm. It can even be faster than the butterfly. You should learn how to master both strokes before attempting a relay.


The backstroke is the inverse of the front crawl. It is the opposite of the freestyle and butterfly, but the main difference is that the backstroke uses an upward-directed line of sight. Backstroke swimmers are often nervous in the water, but they can overcome this by counting strokes. The flutter kick is also a useful technique for improving back muscle strength. In this style, swimmers begin on their back and windmill away from the body. Their legs should be in a flutter movement.

There are several different types of swimming strokes. The five most popular ones are breaststroke, freestyle, butterfly, and IM. All five are effective ways to improve your swimming fitness, as they use different muscles. You can also gain more fitness using a non-freestyle stroke, according to Rachel Wills, a swim coach at the University of North Dakota. This guide will give you a basic understanding of how to perform these three strokes.

Hybrid Style

If you are wondering if a hybrid style is faster than freestyle, here's why. Hybrid swimmers have strong kicks, and while it's not the fastest freestyle technique, it's essential to provide continuous propulsion to your body during the race. In fact, they can come off the breath side faster when using a strong kick. A strong kick provides constant propulsion, allowing you to surge forward after each breath.

The Hybrid freestyle technique is used for events ranging from 100 meters to 1500 meters. It's most common in middle distances, such as 200 meters. Elite 200-meter swimmers typically use this technique. The hybrid freestyle stroke rate is somewhere in between shoulder-driven freestyle and hip-driven freestyle. The latter is faster than the former, but neither is faster than the former. Hybrid freestyle is often preferred for middle distance events, while the former is more suited to sprint distance events. 

Short Axis Freestyle

Different strokes have different techniques. Some are faster than others, and there is an order in strokes by speed. A short axis freestyle is faster than a butterfly.  Both strokes use identical hip motions to achieve a streamline. Those who want to improve their speed will benefit from short axis training. It is also more efficient than butterfly because it can be performed continuously, and the kick is more powerful. Most swimmers will not use their powerful breaststrokers. These two strokes require identical hip motions.

The two strokes are categorized by the length of the body. Short axis strokes are shorter than long axis strokes, so they cut people in half the same way as butterfly strokes. The difference in speed is the angle of undulation at the hips. Beginners may have trouble maintaining a perfectly horizontal position. They may want to omit the touch step. Beginners may be tempted to make a mistake by aiming for a butterfly stroke with their short axis.

Speed of Each Stroke

The length of the propulsion phase of each freestyle or butterfly stroke varies depending on the style. Butterfly swimmers kick twice during each cycle, once on hand entry and again at the end of the power phase. By counting the number of cycles per minute, you can determine your efficiency in the water. For example, if you swim 25 yards at a speed of 2.5 mph, you've swum five feet. To increase speed, you can improve your underwater breakout and extend your kicks by one or two seconds per cycle.

The freestyle kick is the most important aspect of swimming this style. It requires the use of a scissor-like motion and a tight bend in the legs. It provides 10 percent of the propulsion, and allows swimmers to adjust the number of kicks they execute per arm movement. The flutter kick is more difficult to perform than a butterfly, but it is still one of the fastest strokes in the water.

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