In top level swimming, most butterfly competitors demonstrate a straight-arm recovery above the water, but in front-crawl events it's more usual to see recovery with a high, bent elbow and low hand position. Why is one technique preferred for fly and another for front-crawl given that they could be the same.

closed as off-topic by Nij, Ale, user10632, New-To-IT, user527 Oct 23 '16 at 2:46

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  • I'm unclear on the the hold, given that this is a question directly related to a specific competitive sport (swimming). As for the answer, it is pretty straightforward - go try and perform a butterfly recovery while bending the arms like freestyle - without coming very high up out of the water (which wastes effort) it just isn't doable. It is, however, the number one error that young swimmers make, since they have worked so hard to have the bent-elbow recovery in freestyle. Note that you can do it in freestyle only because of the upper body rotation that also helps breathing. – Jon Custer Oct 26 '16 at 14:06
  • I often do not understand the hold/close of stackexchange in general. I have sometimes argued against it. / I see your point. But I still find it doable if you rotate the shoulder. It might even be more relaxed. Le Clos is doing it. – ycc_swe Oct 26 '16 at 21:44
  • I'll have to watch video of Chad. From the Olympics I don't remember it being radically different, at least in the vertical direction. I can see a little bending parallel to the water, depending on the shoulder rotation. – Jon Custer Oct 26 '16 at 23:29
  • I see your point. If you don't rotate the shoulders, the forearms would dip into the water unless you rotate the shoulder. / The question also relates to why you bend the arm in freestyle recovery. I think bending in butterfly feels relaxed. (Allows lactic acid to escape???) (And I am the opposite of flexible :) / I also vaguely remember a video with Bob Bowman while coaching Phelps discussing bent arms during fly recovery. Not for "real" fly, but during some drill. – ycc_swe Oct 26 '16 at 23:44
  • Regarding the hold/close I now also remember that about a week ago I had one comment on a swimming question removed. I think the comment just disappeared? I never got a motivation for that either. – ycc_swe Oct 27 '16 at 1:08