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View Full Version : Amateur tips for 1,000 yard butterfly



Yosemite
July 14th, 2012, 12:47 AM
I have been swimming 1,000 yards non-stop of fly once a week for several months. It is my weekly high. I worked up to it gradually over about six months, after two years of core exercises and swimming at least twice a week year round. I only swim 1,000 to at most 2,000 yards a session. So I am no great swimmer. I am a 58 year-old male, only of slight build, not all that muscular amymore. But maybe a few things that I have learned can help others realize that they too can do this.

The Pull. I start from my hands overlapping in the streamline position. I pull with flat hands, thumbs relaxed wherever they want to be. I end the pull quite early by sliding my hands far out to the sides after the pull. I do not pull far back towards my feet. This saves energy and greatly reduces stress on my shoulders. The hand stroke effort is more than in breaststroke, but not as much as sprinting fly. When I sprint fly, the faster water carries my hands back farher. For distance at a slower speed, I don't have that advantage.

The kick. I only kick once to save leg energy. But I bring my heels up quite a bit first to get good momentum coming down. I kick hard coming down. I end the kick a little bit deep to get my hips up for the glide. My head is down as I end the kick. I can almost see my toes finish the kick as my hips rise up. Hips end up high, head and feet end up down, just a little. I don't mean to exaggerate this, but keeping it in mind helps.

The glide. I glide for less than a second with my hips hopefully still high, head down and hands in the streamline position. All of the muscles in my body completely relax for less than a second to recover, except that I hold my full breath in briefly during this time to give my full lungs time to exchange oxygen/carbdon dioxide. Then I breathe out explosively as I raise my head to breathe. Oxygen/carbon dioxide management is crucial to the distance. Full lungs when possible are important for the distance.

Kinesthetic awareness. I concentrate on my middle finger tips position to help me keep my hands flat with fingers (but not thumbs) together during the pull. I concentrate on my toes' position to help my kicking form. Everything in between works smoothly this way.

Cautions: Work up to the desired distance gradually. Don't do too much and then have to stay out of the pool for two weeks. Quit before it hurts, especially the top of your shoulders. If you have existing shoulder injuries or back problems, this is probably not for you. Core exercises outside of the pool will help a lot. You are different than me. Give yourself time to decide what works for you. I hope you enjoy it as much as me. If I can do it, hopefully you can too!

That Guy
July 14th, 2012, 12:51 AM
Good job! How many strokes do you typically take per 25 yards when swimming distance fly?

orca1946
July 14th, 2012, 01:00 AM
Very good details .If you can see your toes, you may be looking too far back during that stage. I'm impressed with the fly yards! :applaud:

Yosemite
July 14th, 2012, 01:00 AM
Sorry, I haven't counted for quite a while.

Yosemite
July 14th, 2012, 01:02 AM
I can't quite see my toes. I agree with you that seeing them regularly would be a bit much.

guppy
July 14th, 2012, 08:26 AM
The gliding butterfly style of Ida Marko-Varga | Swimmer's Daily (http://www.swimmersdaily.com/2011/09/24/the-gliding-butterfly-style-of-ida-marko-varga/)

http://www.swimmersdaily.com/2011/09/24/the-gliding-butterfly-style-of-ida-marko-varga/

That Guy
July 14th, 2012, 10:18 AM
The gliding butterfly style of Ida Marko-Varga | Swimmer's Daily (http://www.swimmersdaily.com/2011/09/24/the-gliding-butterfly-style-of-ida-marko-varga/)

http://www.swimmersdaily.com/2011/09/24/the-gliding-butterfly-style-of-ida-marko-varga/

My own interpretation of distance fly is to take 3 or more kicks per stroke, but I agree 100% that the glide is key to making the whole thing work. I did 8 x 100 fly on 1:30 earlier this week. That's a modest set, hardly a cause for chest-thumping, but it's the first time I've ever done an aerobic fly set.

Yosemite
July 14th, 2012, 12:36 PM
I think this is the video that Guppy was trying to show us.



Fly Glidfly 2 - YouTube

Woofus B. Loofus
July 14th, 2012, 03:20 PM
Here is a video link of Ida doing a 200SCM. Watch as her stroke style changes through the middle lengths.
Fjäril 200m - YouTube

ElaineK
July 14th, 2012, 06:28 PM
Aha! Yosemite, You must be the one who sent me that e-mail about my 900 fly! I wrote back and wondered if I would see you here next... :welcome:

Here is the link to the thread I had started on distance fly: 900 yard Butterfly- Really! - U.S. Masters Swimming Discussion Forums As you know from the e-mail, my 900 was followed up with a 2,000 yard fly.

Your tips are excellent; especially about finishing the pull early, rather than pushing through to the thighs! I would add a couple of more tips, however. Tips 1. and 2. are from Ande, here on the forums, and the others are mine:

1. Breathe every stroke! This was the only way I was able to succeed at swimming anything more than 100 fly.

2. Keep the stroke flat. On this, do as I say, not as I do... Ande recommended this and by the looks of my video, I failed miserably at this. I am now working on trying to flatten my stroke by driving my arms forward, rather than down.

3. Keep the arms low on the recovery, just above the surface. If it weren't for this, there is no way I could have swum 2,000 yards of fly and not have pain in my shoulders. I had major shoulder surgery before I got back into swimming, but I felt NO pain after that swim. Which leads me to my next point...

4. Do dynamic (not static) stretching before and after. And, make sure you are good and warmed up before you launch into a distance fly session. Thanks to doing this before and after, I felt just fine, even the following day and next day.

Yosemite, don't forget to check out the Butternuts, as I mentioned in my e-mail. That Guy told me about them and you are definitely a Butternut! It takes one to know one... :D

guppy
July 14th, 2012, 06:48 PM
I think this is the video that Guppy was trying to show us.



Fly Glidfly 2 - YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynml38sRU9g)

That is a different one, but it is very instructive.

Swimosaur
July 14th, 2012, 08:53 PM
More Ida Marko-Varga ...

IMV swims 200 SCM fly:

34_JRmnshC8

IMV swims semi-final in 2011 World Championships:

XFBYaBXMx6w

Yosemite
July 14th, 2012, 10:34 PM
ElaineK, I agree with your additional tips. I haven't yet received your e-mail. I did receive your friendship request, which I gladly accepted. But I am new to this USMS forum, so I am floundering at times.

CONGRATULATIONS on your 2,000 yard fly! That surely takes a lot of patience and determination. Awesome. Really impressive. :applaud:

Woofus B. Loofus
July 14th, 2012, 10:52 PM
Thank you Swimosaur for the two IM-V videos. Hadn't seen those. Also thanks to Guppy for the link to the article and instructional video by the M-Vs. It's nice to see elite swimmers produce videos explaining their technical innovations.

I thought I would share some takeaways from studying Ida's butterglide.

First, it is a formidable technical advance: she came up with it on her own; simplified the stroke through elimination of an entire (and strenuous) element; uses dramatically fewer SPL than her competitors; yet is only precious seconds off WR pace. That style may never win Olympic gold, but for us masters, especially those doing distance fly and IM, quite the eye-opener.

Second, while she doesn't do what I call the 'first' kick (not calling it 'minor' because for some it's the major kick), she does a body undulation instead, which seems to substitute nicely in propulsive effect.

Notice how when she reaches with her arms that her body forms a bowed concave shape, like an incense holder. By letting her hips fall, with hands and feet high, she sets up an armpull that naturally raises her hips and causes her fairly straight legs and pointed feet to push down. This undulation appears to yield similar propulsion to the typical, somewhat hurried drop-knee donkey kick.

Third, her arm re-entry is closer together than is considered textbook, perhaps as it is more hydrodynamic (a la breaststroke) to have the hands and arms knife more tightly to begin her elongated glide. Her hands then spread as she prepares her pull.

Fourth, head-on video of IM-V shows that her arm re-entry, glide, and stretch-to-pull movement is less flat than conventional. Her re-entering arms dive a bit, then glide straight, then arch upward toward the surface as she assumes that bowed, concave initial pull position.

My experiments with her butterglide style have caused me to toy with delaying the big, single kick until the arms are re-entering, instead of the normal timing of that 'second kick' with the wing-flap. This is akin to the breaststroke, where the best often have their arms very much shooting forward in sleek, narrow recovery position before the whip kick thrust, so as not to retard the kick's full propulsive effect.

This delayed kick I call the 'banderillero' move, after the guys in the bullfight who with high straightened arms place the banderillas down onto the bull's nape, then pierce the barbs in (not very PC metaphor, I know, but it's the banderilleros' unusual arm movement that I'm evoking). In the butterglide banderillero, the hands enter knife-like thumbs-first, then shoot forward as the big, single kick delivers its thrust.

ElaineK
July 14th, 2012, 11:02 PM
ElaineK, I agree with your additional tips. I haven't yet received your e-mail. I did receive your friendship request, which I gladly accepted. But I am new to this USMS forum, so I am floundering at times.

CONGRATULATIONS on your 2,000 yard fly! That surely takes a lot of patience and determination. Awesome. Really impressive. :applaud:

Thanks! I will send you a PM (private message) with the e-mail I received, as well as my reply. Hmmm, now I'm beginning to wonder if it wasn't you and it's just a coincidence! :bolt:

ElaineK
July 14th, 2012, 11:18 PM
I thought I would share some takeaways from studying Ida's butterglide.


Excellent "takeaways", Woofus. But, there is one takeaway that I have that is :afraid:. Do you see how high her hands come out of the water in back at the beginning of her recovery? :afraid: And, do you see her Janet Evans-like shoulders on the rest of the recovery? It reminds me of Leisel Jones' knees on her breaststroke kick. :afraid:

For many masters swimmers sporting scars from previous injuries and surgeries, both styles spell potential disaster. :worms: Personally, I'll stick with attempting to keep my arms as low to the water as possible, so I can save my shoulders... :bolt:

orca1946
July 15th, 2012, 12:07 AM
You can practice low arms like free drills of finger dragging to stay just above the water.

Swimosaur
July 15th, 2012, 01:29 PM
... for us masters, especially those doing distance fly and IM, quite the eye-opener.

Swimosaur vs. pmccoy @ Auburn SCY, Feb 2011:

coM7NL9kEQA

I've been playing with this gliderfly for a couple of years. I've done 500 continuous, I've done 1000 continuous, but I've had trouble making it fast. From this thread I learned that IMV takes only one kick per stroke cycle, and apparently it's very strong. I'll have to work on that.

Woofus B. Loofus
July 15th, 2012, 03:41 PM
Elaine, I believe Ida has replaced her natural shoulder joints with universal ball joints. For the rest of us, I'm with Orca1946: just bring the arms around the bend as low as need be. Think of a pelican's wings skimming over the surface as it glides effortlessly along...

Swimosaur, I enjoyed the Battle of the Butterglides video. The way I try to get more oomph is by making sure that I feel my stomach and pelvic area, as well as everything along the sides of my arms and torso, really stretch as I reach to begin the armpull. That maximizes the resulting undulation. Same principle as with the breaststroke pulldown: feel the skin stretch over your hip bones as you reach to pull. Then you get a big freebie undulation.

quicksilver
July 15th, 2012, 08:56 PM
Interesting how she said that it came about from getting tired in practice.

But you're right about being flexible. You've got to built like Raggedy Anne or Andy to swing the arms like that.

ElaineK
July 15th, 2012, 09:31 PM
Elaine, I believe Ida has replaced her natural shoulder joints with universal ball joints. For the rest of us, I'm with Orca1946: just bring the arms around the bend as low as need be. Think of a pelican's wings skimming over the surface as it glides effortlessly along...

Swimosaur, I enjoyed the Battle of the Butterglides video. The way I try to get more oomph is by making sure that I feel my stomach and pelvic area, as well as everything along the sides of my arms and torso, really stretch as I reach to begin the armpull. That maximizes the resulting undulation. Same principle as with the breaststroke pulldown: feel the skin stretch over your hip bones as you reach to pull. Then you get a big freebie undulation.

:lmao:Yeah, that's about right! Kids, don't try this at home! :afraid:My shoulders hurt just looking at the photo Quicksilver posted! So, yes, keeping a low profile on fly will definitely be my style...

Woofus, I think you should post the video LMB shot of your fly. (I know what you're thinking and that's NOT why!) Seriously, it would be good for Yosemite to see. And, I encourage him to do the same. This could be our "Butternuts" thread for all of us nuts who are interested in exploring the dark side of butterfly. :D

ElaineK
July 15th, 2012, 09:43 PM
Swimosaur vs. pmccoy @ Auburn SCY, Feb 2011:


I remember that race. I had just met Peter and his buddies, because we were sitting next to each other in the bleachers. I was sitting in the front row with Bruce, over on the right side of that video clip. I remember watching and thinking to myself, "I wonder if I will ever be able to swim 200 yards of fly..." I've thought that at every meet, including last month, in Athens. Now, I'm going to be swimming it in Greenville! :D

Your fly looks so smooth and relaxed. :applaud: That was a great race between you two! :agree: