What is Easy Fly?

Easy Fly is a specialized way to learn and swim butterfly, refined by Total Immersion over the past 12 years. and designed to allow swimmers of any age or athletic ability to learn a smooth, relaxing and rhythmic butterfly within hours . . . then to progress to swimming butterfly for longer distances (200 yards or meters for many; a mile or more for some) within few weeks or months, by following thoughtful methods of practice oriented to improving and imprinting efficiency.

While Easy Fly is designed to prioritize ease more than speed, it can give competitive swimmers—especially Masters–the potential to set and improve on personal records and perform with distinction in competition. This ‘secret’ to Easy Fly is taking advantage of existing/natural forces to replace work traditionally done by the muscles.

Is Butterfly truly the hardest stroke?

If you’ve read or heard descriptions of butterfly in the press, you know that it’s unfailingly described as grueling. And it’s not just the media that thinks of fly this way: Swimmers often swim the stroke specifically to get a ‘good workout’ from just a single lap. Swim coaches regularly inflict butterfly repeats on wayward swimmers as punishment for some practice transgression. The swimming mainstream considers butterfly the aquatic equivalent of ‘hard labor.’ Thus, it’s no surprise that newer or non-competitive swimmers often view butterfly with a mix of intimidation and fascination.

In June 2010, Wall Street Journal reporter Kevin Helliker, in the article For the Athlete Who Has It All, wrote “Like many fitness swimmers, I can go mile after mile of freestyle without stopping. But a single lap of butterfly leaves me gasping. In an age of ultra-marathons, Ironman triathlons, and crowds chugging up Mount Everest, long-distance butterfly swimming is becoming a new frontier for fitness fanatics. The mere sight of a swimmer doing lap after lap of butterfly garners attention of the sort that merely finishing an Ironman triathlon no longer generates.”

Why is the ability to swim lap after lap of fly so rare that it leaves other swimmers semi-awestruck? According to Helliker, “Fly swimming requires enormous strengthening of every muscle in the body.” One of the distance flyers quoted in the article, Tom Boettcher (the author of a book called Core Training), told Helliker he spends two hours training in the gym for every hour in the pool.

Yet if you closely study Olympic medalists, such as American swimmers Michael Phelps and Dana Vollmer, you’re more likely to be struck by their rhythm and grace. The power in their strokes is more inherent than overt. Indeed, it’s while swimming butterfly that humans most resemble those most graceful of all swimmers–dolphins.

Vollmer, who broke the women’s world record in winning the 100-meter butterfly at the London 2012 Olympics, told the NY Times just days before her record-breaking swim: “I really think about being light in the water and everything moving forward as I swim. The butterfly is really about grace and rhythm.” She added: “People struggle in the last 25 meters; that’s when I really focus on staying as light as I can with my arms, and not punching down with my legs,”

London 2012 Olympic Champion Dana Vollmer

London 2012 Olympic Champion Dana Vollmer

66 y.o. TI Founder Terry Laughlin

66 y.o. TI Founder Terry Laughlin

So which is the real butterfly—graceful water-dance or energy-sapping, muscle deadening struggle? This series of blog posts will explain the difference between ‘ButterStruggle’—the version the vast majority of us fall into—and ‘Easy Fly’, a revolutionary new way to swim butterfly. Easy Fly is based on the fluent grace of elite swimmers like Dana Vollmer, but anyone can learn it.

Coming NextPart 2 40 Years of HARD Fly: Why I Almost Gave Up on Swimming Butterfly

Different Strokes jpeg

Click here to learn more about our newest Self Coaching Course: Butterfly, Backstroke, and Breaststroke Made Easy