Which swimming stroke is named after an insect?

Question: Which swimming stroke is named after an insect?

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The butterfly.

The swimming stroke named after an insect is the “butterfly.” Its name is derived from the simultaneous, symmetrical arm movement and the undulating body motion that vaguely resembles the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings.

The origins of the butterfly stroke can be traced back to the 1930s. Before this period, swimmers primarily used the breaststroke in competitions. However, as swimmers and coaches continuously sought ways to reduce drag and increase speed in the water, some began experimenting with bringing their arms out of the water and over their heads, instead of the traditional sweep beneath the surface that characterized the breaststroke.

This innovative arm movement, combined with a dolphin kick (a simultaneous motion of both legs in an up-and-down wave-like motion), led to faster times in the pool. By the 1950s, this new technique had gained enough traction and recognition that the butterfly was established as a distinct stroke in competitive swimming, separate from the breaststroke. The International Swimming Federation (FINA) officially recognized the butterfly as a separate stroke in 1953.

The butterfly requires a unique combination of strength, timing, and technique. The key is to maintain a rhythm, where the swimmer’s arms provide propulsion, and the dolphin kicks offer additional drive and help to maintain the body’s buoyancy. Breathing in the butterfly is achieved by turning the head to the side during the arm recovery or by lifting the head straight out of the water.

While the butterfly stroke might be one of the most challenging to learn and master due to its demand for synchronized movements and strength, it is also one of the most graceful and beautiful to watch when executed correctly, living up to the elegance of the insect after which it’s named.