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Suddethb 03-01-2009 11:45 PM

4-Stroke Butterfly!
I've been working on slowing down, concentrating on "Boomerfly" styling, endurance and my glide. Two weeks ago I did two miles of Free to warm up, and then a mile of Fly only stopping for water every ten minutes. I was averaging about five to five and a half strokes per 25-yard length of the pool. Today I focused on lengthening my glide, and being more dolphin-like in my between-strokes kick, and I was able to lengthen that out to doing only 4 strokes per length for most of the time I was doing Fly! When I do the long strokes I'm at an average pace of sixty five seconds per 50 yard lap. My normal Free stroke is between fourty five and fifty five. I'm VERY happy with this.

To build up my stamina without over exertion I've been doing two miles Free, and then alternate Free and Fly for the next mile or two. The time I did the full mile at once, I cooled down with some Free afterward. This is amazing! I only learned the basic Fly stroke this past November!


Suddethb 07-05-2009 12:01 AM

I'm still mixing bly and free, and can sometimes pull of 3 1/2 strokes per length if I focus on extension and relaxation. Twice I've passed a mile in butterfly now, and I'm looking for number 3!

ayesr 07-29-2009 11:22 PM

Your 5-5-1/2 SPLs...on a slow mode...
I assume that - kicking off the wall - you do underwater DKs for up to half of the pool before you make your first hand stroke? Thus, your SPLs would be for the rest of the distance?

Do you count your underwater DKs (before making the first hand stroke)? How many are these?


N.B. BTW, do you "...scrape the water surface..." with your chin as you breath? Do you do the "...turn on/turn-off..." mind picture that TI suggests? Again, thanks.

Suddethb 07-31-2009 11:06 PM

4-stroke butterfly
I haven't counted the underwater kicks but I think the distance is about 1/3. I'll count during my next session and let you know I may also count the strokes with no underwater dolphins or significant push and see how well I do just on the stroke alone. Great questions! Thanks.

Suddethb 08-01-2009 07:52 PM

Better counting
Thanks for the question. I needed to do that. Today I decided to isolate more of what the stroke is doing and see the result.

I pushed off from the wall normally (not hard or soft, just a normal average push).

I glided only (no dolphin kicks off the wall at all), checked my distance at breaking the surface, (just under 1/3 of the pool length of 25 yards, so call it about an 8-yard glide).

I take a breath during each arm stroke, and one dolphin between arm strokes.

I get to the wall in 4 arm strokes but don't need the last dolphin.

My time used to be 1:06 for a gentle lap (50 yds) in that style. Today it was 0:57 average over 20 non-continuous laps with a sideways easy turn instead of a flip. I'm not good with flips.


terry 08-02-2009 01:48 PM

I applaud your purposeful focus and goal orientation in practicing Fly. If you tell us what your intermediate-term goal in Fly is we can perhaps suggest what to do next.
In the next 100 Days, what would you like to be able to do while swimming butterfly
- Swim farther?
- Take fewer strokes?
- Hold a faster pace?

ayesr 08-02-2009 11:52 PM

A 3rd of the pool for gliding, 2/3 in 4 strokes
Thanks for the info.

I don't think I'm anywhere near those stats.


Suddethb 08-08-2009 08:43 PM


Originally Posted by terry (Post 4733)
I applaud your purposeful focus and goal orientation in practicing Fly. If you tell us what your intermediate-term goal in Fly is we can perhaps suggest what to do next.
In the next 100 Days, what would you like to be able to do while swimming butterfly
- Swim farther?
- Take fewer strokes?
- Hold a faster pace?

I'm delighted to get a personal reply Terry! THANK YOU FOR THIS AMAZING GIFT of teaching a 48 year-old to swim!

In Fly, I'd like to be able to smooth it out to the point where I feel as effortless in my stroke as I do in Free and can keep it up as long. When I did a mile Fly without stopping except for a drink every 10 minutes, it took a lot out of me. I can do that in Free again and again without strain and feel great when I come out. Since I'm only doing four strokes in my "long stroke" (Boomer) Fly, there are fewer breaths than in Free (5-6), and I frequently lose my relaxation focus and dolphin kick instead of doing it as a natural body wave. That depletes me. When I can swim Fly without the effort, the farther, fewer and faster will naturally follow. I don't have a video camera I can trust under water or in a ziplock, and I don't have anyone at the club with me to film how I'm doing, but I can work that out if you'd like me to provide you with a clip to review.

In Free, I'm flowing well with 13 strokes per length and about 53 seconds a lap relaxed and 43 when I push a bit harder. This week at a Scout camp with one of my sons, I did the "BSA Mile Swim" test and unlike the others, I did free while they did resting back stroke or breast and completed two miles in the time allowed leaving 4 guys still in the pool for their first and finished the last lap in fly to show I was ready to go again. I'm moving from breathing every right side stroke to alternating on the 3rd now. I usually run out of time in my schedule before I run out of gas for the swim. The thing that is causing me my biggest problem in Free is leg and foot cramping after about 2-3 hours. I've done a 5.8 mile session, but I always seem to get the leg and foot cramps before I can continue past 6. I know you've done Manhattan Island and other considerably longer swims, so I know there are ways to get past things like this. I do have some Gatorade with me in addition to water, so I'm not worried about electrolytes, and my chi running wife feeds me healthy and nutritious foods. Any suggestions are welcome.

terry 08-08-2009 10:36 PM

I think the first suggestion I can make is to allow yourself more strokes. If you're swimming 25 yds in 4 strokes, there's either a lot of gliding to near-immobility, or a lot of extra dolphins in there. I am happy to swim between 7 and 9 SPL, trying to maintain enuf momentum between strokes that I impact the wall with a bit of speed after my final stroke.
I add no overt dolphins, though I do swim butterfrog about 70% of the time. My SPL is the same for butterfrog and fly. The difference is that I travel that DPS faster with butterfrog.
I seldom swim farther than 100 nonstop in practice. I'd say I do 50% 25s, 30% 50s, and 20% 75s and 100s. A sample set would be 8 x 25 on 3 breaths rest, 4 x 50 on 5 breaths, 8 x 25 on 5 breaths a bit faster.

Suddethb 03-05-2010 04:13 AM

Mile Fly Made Easy!

Your challenge to me in August of 2009 was to set a 100 day goal. It took, me much longer than that to get my groove on, but it happened tonight!

A HUGE BREAKTHROUGH TONIGHT! I swam OVER A MILE in relaxed butterfly, and my heart rate wasn't over 120 when I checked it halfway through and the same again at the end! WOO HOO! I had planned to do 1-arm fly, but started in full relaxed "boomerfly, then kaizened out and had to stop only when I ran out of time! I was as energetic at the end as... at the start! THANKS TERRY! I hit another goal!!!

I spent the last year working on 5 miles a week as a goal, added one-arm butterfly to my freestyle and introduced kaizen aspects. I recently got your Extraordinary Swimming book, and am still reading it so I'm not there yet. Tonight I was relaxed and after a mile plus in free, I went into fly to see how I did after 200 yards or so of relaxed fly. I somehow managed to ease right in to the kind of pattern you suggested, counting 5 1/2 to 6 fly strokes per lap instead of the 3-4 I had been doing. The extra breaths and constant focus on my relaxation was unimaginable to me last year! It worked like a charm! WOW!

Brian Suddeth
Bowie, MD

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