Thanks for visiting our Survey on the FINA SW8.3 Butterfly Kick Technical rule! The survey was active from 15 May to 15 June 2020.


The survey poses the question if any kick should be allowed in FINA SW 8 Butterfly, like it is in FINA SW 5 Freestyle and FINA SW 6 Backstroke.

Objective: To engage coaches with discussion about the Butterfly kick as it relates to performance in the swimming stroke, and to review the rule for possible change.

Duration: The 30 day survey was posted on social media sites Linkedin and Facebook in English only. 

Survey engagement: Outreach was from 16 different National Federations, with the 58.8% of the responses from the United States. Engagement was tracked with over 1,000 youtube video views.

What does the data say? This survey posted a first time question of the technical kick component of the butterfly stroke for swimming. Data indicates the majority 55.9% prefer to keep the rule the same while 41.2% would consider the change with 2.9% uncertain. 

As a first time rule question the results are interesting. I would like to suggest that a larger survey size is important.

Should this survey discussion for improvements of the SW8.3 discipline be submitted to the members of Fina? Yes/No?

Please discuss it within your groups and federations. 

Thank you! Dan



By Dan Lynch, 15 May 2020

Dear Swimming and Aquatics,

Why is it important, and why should you care about the butterfly kick rule? We live in a world where the questions are the same but the answers have changed. When it comes to high performance, a swimmer must use everything he’s got. If we want to have results in swimming that we have never had before, we need to start doing things that have never been done before.

Success can only be maintained by constantly evolving and being willing to change with the times. I want to see our sport greatly increase its popularity and draw more athletes and fans.

Tunnel vision confuses people on performance.

The Rule

The Butterfly Kick Rule (according to the FINA rule book), “All up and down movements of the legs must be simultaneous. The legs or the feet need not be on the same level, but they shall not alternate in relation to each other. A breaststroke kicking movement is not permitted”.

The rule is clear, but this is an old and unnecessary rule about alternate and breaststroke kick as it applies to the butterfly kick.

Other swimming strokes have evolved and swimmers are getting faster. Fina allows any kick (alternating kick combined with dolphin) in freestyle and backstroke and breaststroke kick in masters butterfly.

FINA SW 5 FREESTYLE – any kick allowed
FINA SW 6 BACKSTROKE – any kick allowed
MASTERS FINA MSW 3.7 BUTTERFLY – breaststroke kick allowed

A national federation, USA Swimming:  Interprets the FINA rule.  “…Consequently, the fact that the upper foot may catch and pass (cross) the lower foot while traveling in the same direction is not a disqualification.”  An interpretation by definition is, “the action of explaining the meaning of something.” If a rule is clear and simple there is no need for an interpretation. What is USA Swimming thinking?

Why change the Fina SW 8.3 Butterfly kick rule?

For the benefit of the swimmers! The kick rule negatively affects butterfly swimming.

I am advocating for changing the rule, the elimination SW 8.3 rule all together. You may be wondering why? The rule

  • Does not allow for breatkthru stroke innovation where extraordinary results happen. 
  • is grey area in our sport for coaches, officials and and fans do not understand how identical situations may be called completely differently.
  • is incorrectly applied based on how the rule is written, and interpretations utilized to defend calls made or not made (USA Swimming).
  • is a large reason for coaches disputing calls and yelling at officials during play.
  • is a main source of disqualifications in developmental age group and high school teams, causing many swimmers and parents disappointment in swimming and a likelihood to leave the sport.

How do we get to the Happy Place, where swimming is cool and innovation happens? It’s when people (federations, coaches, officials, swimmers, and parents) decide to finally break the standards or the norms.

Swimming needs to evolve

We invite you to provide your opinion with ONE question survey. Please complete the survey by Monday June 15, 2020. Many thanks for your input and we hope you and your families are safe and healthy.

Take the survey


Performance Analysis in Sports, Lets make the rules better for swimming.


Swimming Butterfly, enjoy.

INDOOR: early morning 6am video – MOTION SYSTEM #240

INDOOR: late afternoon at great pool. MOTION SYSTEM #200

INDOOR: video by Tom Johnson. TUNEUP SYSTEM #300

OUTDOORS: during a rainstorm. MOTION SYSTEM #200

INDOOR: video taken by Dave Sheets. MOTION SYSTEM #280