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Lee Anne Dunham
December 16th, 2002, 12:58 AM
I started swimming again about 8 months ago and would like to get to where I can compete again. It has been almost 15 years since I competed in college and my swimming definitely shows it. I was a fly and IM swimmer all of my life but after all this time my fly timing is messed up. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can return to the easy fly I once did? I can still keep up with the youngsters when kicking so I know my kick is strong. I do not know what has happened to the rest of the stroke. I would really like to swim IM again. I could also use any ideas for great IM workouts that could be done on my own. I long for the easy rythm of fly I once had.

I am a lost butterflier.
Lee Anne:( :(

jean sterling
December 16th, 2002, 09:15 AM
My butterfly was always what Emmett would call butterstruggle. My legs would sink every time I breathed. If I tried more than a 50 my fly became more and more vertical.

A couple of years ago a young fellow from Belgium began to coach a masters group two mornings a week at the Y where I swim. He is big on technique, and he changed the timing of my fly kick. This made a HUGE difference for me. He tweaked other things in my stroke too, but the main reason I can now swim fly with less effort is due to changing the timing of my kick. So maybe this might work for you. I was doing my second kick too soon, and he said that is a very common mistake that a lot of swimmers make. So, this might be something for you to think about.

Lee Anne Dunham
December 20th, 2002, 12:59 AM
I would not call my stroke butterstruggle but it sure is not the easy stroke I could once swim for endless workouts the way I did when I was in college. Where are you placing your second kick? When I do one arm fly drills with the right arm my timing seems almost perfect and effortless but when I do them with my left arm something just isn't right. I think what ever I am doing differently is carrying over into my regular stroke. I had shoulder surgery on the left side several years ago and wonder if the change in the shoulder may be playing a roll. Any other ideas? Thank you for the help. Any other help will greatly appreciated.


Lee Anne:( :cool: :( :( :cool:

jean sterling
December 20th, 2002, 08:41 PM
Originally posted by Lee Anne Dunham
Where are you placing your second kick?

I had to think about that a bit. All I knew is that I eventually changed the timing of the second kick so that it came later and helped to lift my head out of the water. Before that, it took a lot of effort to lift my head, so that I would do two or three strokes between breaths. This works fine for a 50 but proves to be a disaster for anything longer.

Anyway, today when I was swimming I tried to think about when I was doing that second kick, and it seemed to me that I was doing it when my arms had almost finished their under water pull. Doing the kick later is what makes it easy to get the head out of the water. Before changing my timing, the two kicks were very close together. The coach told me that is a very common mistake when people swim fly.

Maybe Coach Emmett will jump in and explain it better. He is the one who wrote the butterstruggle article. :-)

sparklefish99
January 8th, 2003, 12:01 PM
I too was a college distance butterflier, but the time off reaked havoc on my timeing. Have no fear, there is a drill that will fix it...only if your patient enought to master it, and it is really hard to explain, but here it goes...

underwater pull-breath-kick-recover-kick-glide

Each one of these mechanical parts of the stroke are done one at a time with the exception of the pull and breath. You breath when your 1/2 way through the pull, making sure not to lead this drill with your head in a diving motion when you kick. As for the recovery, extend your reach through your fingertips as if your trying to reach the gutter at the end of the pool. Enjoy the glide. :D

The drill is really slow and takes awhile because it really focuses on the mechanics and timing of the stroke, forcing you to use TWO kicks. Feels really jerky and odd the first couple of times. Let me know how it turns out.

Lee Anne Dunham
January 9th, 2003, 03:56 PM
Thank you for this information. It does sound like a rather odd drill but I am willing to give anything a try. I am trying to work through the drill in my head and find it a bit awkward. However, I intend to try it during my workout tonight. Thanks again and I will let you know how it works out.

Lee Anne:cool:

Rob Copeland
January 9th, 2003, 05:23 PM
And a couple of other things to try.

First since flexibility is a key to butterfly, you may want to work on stretching out those shoulders. A few years off swimming reeks havoc on flexibility. There are many swimmer stretches geared towards restoring the flexibility of your shoulders.

Second, try some 50’s with fins, breathing every 3 or 4 strokes. Concentrate on the basics, full body undulation, breathing forward (not just up), finishing your stroke (to help your recovery), working both kicks, timing…

mojo flyer
January 10th, 2003, 07:10 PM
Your situation sounds similiar to mine when I returned to swimming after about a 12 year hiatus. Love the fly but it didn't love me back. I tried a lot of the newer drills which were mentioned above and are great for improving efficiency and balance in the water. I even improved my flexibility even better than when I was younger. But I still didn't have that easy fly from college. Finally, I started to swim more fly in practice and some over distance sets, after three years I got my mojo back. I think the thing it was for me was the loss of muscle especially in my upper back and shoulders. It wasn't until I started a little weight training on these areas that I have noticed a big and enjoyable difference in my fly. You have gotten a lot of great advice in other posts, I hope this helps you too.