Training and Drills for Butterfly by Richard Quick (1999)


Thank you very much, Chuck, and I’m sorry the room is so small. I’m sure that we could have all comfortably gotten in here if Jenny hadn’t have gone that time last week.


I’d like to tell you… there are several people that I need to thank over the years that have influenced butterfly for me. Mark Spitz, with his coach Doc Counsilman, and Doc’s willingness to share what he knew about butterfly and trying to figure out what Mark did so well to go that fast. Mary T. Maher with Dennis Costly and Bill Peak. Watching her swim, watching her prepare for her races, seeing those coaches work with her was something I’ve learned from. I had the honor of coaching Jerry Heidenreicher, working with Jerry Heidenreicher for the ’72 Olympic Games, and watching what he learned from his coach, Red Barr, and George McMillion, and more recently, watching Skip Kenney work with Pablo Morales in 1992. What a tremendous learning experience that was for me.


And now I’ve learned from 4 really great butterflyers recently: Summer Sanders. Summer brought an amazing technique, and I think it’s to be credited to her coach Mike Hastings, and Jenelle Jorgensen. Jenelle was a great butterflyer who again I learned a lot from, and her coach was Tim Murphy. And then, currently I’m coaching two great butterflyers in Misty Hyman, whose coach is Bob Gillett, and I can tell you right now, you need to go to his talk about underwater swimming, and I’ll talk a minute later about how important I think that is.


And then, of course, Jenny Thompson, whose club coach is Mike Prado. And I also overlooked one person here. I learned an awful lot from Angie Westercreig, who made the 1992 Olympic team on her fourth Olympic trials, and so those people have influenced me a lot, watching those athletes, knowing what those coaches, what those athletes told me.


The other person who has influenced me a great deal is Bill Boomer. Bill has changed what I value with regard to technique, and he’s changed the language I use to try to teach technique. And any time you get a chance to work with Bill, or listen to him, I advise you to do that. I’ve been working with Bill since the Fall of 1991, and every single time he works with us, it makes a difference in my coaching career and a difference to the athletes I get to work with.


O.K. I think it’s impossible… what I’d like to do is show you… I don’t have to talk into this… This was taped by Jonty

Skinner at the Pan Pacific championships.   (SOUNDS  OF CHEERING FROM TAPE BEING PLAYED). Down 26.9, that’s .8 of a second ahead of the world record and she only beat that by 5/100ths. There’s room for improvement in the second length. The right side over there is Susan O’Neill from Australia. O.K. The reason I wanted you to see that, and then I want you to watch it a little bit more critically at the end. You can’t know where I’m coming from in butterfly until you know what I value.


The things I value… they’re kind of in a priority. Number 1 is posture. A swimming posture is established starting here in the midsection. You want to have as flat a back as possible. As opposed to standing posture, you want swimming posture. With a flat back. Now, you can do that two ways. You can work in your abdomen and raise your diaphragm up and kind of take your rib cage in and have a flat back that way, or you can use your soleus muscle down here, and if you use that soleus muscle, you leg’s going to drop. If your leg drops in swimming, that’s going to give you more resistance. So you want to do the flat back routine from the midsection, from the gut. So squeeze your abdomen in, … your spine, raise your rib cage up, and flatten your back. So you start your posture there. Now, bring your rib cage in together, bring your chin back in line, right here, in a relaxed attention position, right there. Swimming posture, walking posture, swimming posture. It’s different. Standing posture right here. And swimming posture. Flat back.    Now, when I try to help somebody with their technique, I want to be as close to perfect swimming posture as possible all the time. I value that. One day I watched Denny swimming, it happened to be freestyle, and we did some exercises called Pilates. Pilates really helps you with kind of a core tension, a core strength, posture, if you will, and I said, Man, your posture looks better than ever. She said, yeah, I’m doing Pilates in the water. Now, there’s an exercise you can do. I think it’s an exercise that’s pretty easy to do. You lie flat on your back. Now, you peel your tail bone off the floor slowly, one vertebra at a time up. Do this again. One vertebra at a time up. And peel up here like this. Now bring your arms back over your head, right here. Now, taking one vertebra at a time down, you’re working on the muscles, the correct muscles to give you a flat back. And then take it down in your tailbones, the last thing to land on the floor. A lot of people will drop their butt and their back will still be off the floor. The middle of their back. If they do, they’re going to swim with an arch  in their back all the time. O.K.? So that’s just an exercise I think you can have people do in very slow motion. Take one vertebra at a time, peel it up, and then take it back down. And they’ll learn how to control their abdomen muscles that allow them to have a flat back.



Now, the other thing I value, posture. Line. The swimming line. Now, John, let’s go ahead and put in Lynn’s tape. Now, Lynn starts out a vertical pencil float position. O.K. great eyes. You want to swim butterfly as much as possible, on the line. So… his head is good, his head is good, nice tension now. Yeah. O.K. Now she’s playing with her posture and her line right here. I would ask, if she does this, she would do this  a little bit differently, but I’d want her face to be down just a little bit. It’s not perfect. I want her to be tall through the head. Tall through the head.


Let’s fast forward to that just a second. Now, balance is real important to me. Because you want to learn to balance your line so that you’re not kicking your lower body up. That’s one of the reasons you want your arms out in front as much as you can have them in butterfly. You don’t want them back here in the back. And I’ll talk more about that in just a minute. Now, this drill is called Head Lead Undulation, and she’s just doing one and then going right into another and then working back on the line. Right here. And just a minute. The reason I have her doing this tape is she’s awesome right here in this drill. Notice, she’s undulating her body forward and slightly below and then forward and slightly above the line, and she’s not kicking. The emphasis is not in the kick. It’s in the body. Butterfly is a body rhythm stroke. It’s not in the feet, and you’re going to find it’s not really in the arms. O.K., that’s enough on that tape.


So, for me butterfly is a rhythm stroke, it’s a body rhythm stroke, and the emphasis is in front. The undulation is forward and slightly below the line, and forward and slightly above the line. That’s the language I use when I’m working with anybody I’m coaching. We want it forward. Real important concept. A lot of people talk about butterfly down and up. It’s forward and slightly below. Forward and slightly above. The other thing I value there is obviously rhythm. And then you have to realize that speed is determined by the body tensions that you carry. A relaxed body tension. You know, back to posture. When you’re teaching your children about good posture, they say, hey, I don’t want to do that, that’s uncomfortable. That’s because they’re not used to it. So you have to value the posture enough and originally, when you first start out, it’s going to be uncomfortable. It’s going to be unnatural. But eventually, it’s going to be a natural thing that they’ll be able to go to. It’ll be the basis where they find their strokes.


Let’s talk about butterfly. I’m going to tell you what I used to do. I used to coach butterfly here. You’d be here, you’d sweep out, you’d sweep in here, you’d sweep down here, really emphasize the back part of the stroke, and then back to the front. I’ve changed a lot. Here’s what I emphasize now. By the way, what happened when I did this. When I was coaching back here, I was taking the weight of my arms and throwing it exactly the wrong direction where I didn’t want to go. I don’t want to go back there. What happens when I’m back here? What happened to Allyn? Her body went like this. When I’m back here like this, at the end of a race, I’m swimming uphill instead of swimming on the line. Summer Sanders really taught us. Because she really didn’t have a kick. So, Summer Sanders taught us sweep out, sweep in high here, high on the neck, high on the face right here. Now, once your hands pass through this part of the stroke right here, they get right down to here, once your hands pass the mass of your body, all you have is your hands. That’s not very much compared to an arm full of water here. So, the emphasis needs to be on releasing back to the line in front. So, release, sweep out here in front, get back in front. Don’t have the emphasis be back here. Get back in front. So, the talk we had without team is rhythm in front in butterfly. Rhythm in front in butterfly.


Jenny went through this. Jenny is a very powerful woman. She’s really worked on that part of things. Her nature is to want to… Oh, yeah, I’m really strong, I’m stronger than all these other women, and I’m going to push right here, I’m going to get everything there is to get. It’s not worth getting a handful of water down here when you have a chance to be on your line, be more streamlined, set an early anchor, and we’ll talk about that in just a minute. But you get a whole forearm against the water versus just a handful down here. So rhythm in front in butterfly. Here it is again. You reach toward the corner, sweep out, reach. Now, notice with my arms… I’m reaching with my shoulders right here, just a little bit. Then it’s an inward sweep, right in here, then back down in through here just a while, but once I pass about here, I’m thinking about having the swimmers release and recover to the front. O.K.? So, the words we use are, We give it up in the back here in back. Give it up in the back. Right here. I’ll show you some drills in a minute where we work on that stuff. O.K.?


Now. Distance per stroke in butterfly is determined about how early you set your anchor. How far out in front you set your anchor is a better word. How far out in front you set your anchor, because what you want you do is set an anchor here and then undulate your body over that anchor. Right here. You set the anchor, then you undulate your body over the anchor. O.K.? That’s what distance per stroke is in freestyle. Set your anchor, your body slides by. Butterfly is exactly the same. An awful lot of butterflyers, some that I coach, don’t ever get hold of the water till they’re down here. They don’t ever have their anchor until they’re here. So, work on getting the anchor right out here in front. We’ll have some drill that’ll show you that. But that’s what we value there. Setting an early anchor and undulating, taking the rhythm of the undulation over an early anchor.


What about the leg work? Our belief is that butterfly is a body stroke. It’s swum with your body here. What you’re doing is you’re manipulating your lungs, you’re kind of like having a ball with air in it, which it is, right here, and you take your lungs forward and slightly below the line, and then release, and then it comes up above the line, and forward, and the energy flows out your legs. The emphasis is not in the kick. When I’m teaching butterfly we’re talking about don’t kick, body undulation, body undulation, don’t kick.

Now, once you’re swimming, trying to break a world record, you’ve gotten your posture line and balance all lined up. Then, whatever emphasis you do put on your kick is for forward propulsion. It’s not for swimming out of the hole. O.K.? Does that make sense? All right.


Taking a breath. First of all, I believe you ought to do plenty of swimming where you breath every stroke in butterfly. Every stroke. If you could do it, Jenny can’t, Summer could. She could swim as fast breathing every stroke as she could breathing less than every stroke. Because it fit right in with the rhythm, she didn’t jut her chin out here like this to get the breath every time. She took her breath with her shoulders and body right here. And her chin was kind of back. Jenny, we’ve had her chin be back. That’s so her head… remember I didn’t want her to vary very much from the line? Here, when I do this, I bury my head off the line high. I tighten the muscles in my shoulder up. But if I take a breath right here with my chin back, trying to be tall through the head when I take a breath right here, then I’m a little closer to the line the whole time. And when that happens, you’re swimming more on the line with posture, line and balance. You’re not deviating from that very much.


Sometimes, what happens with swimmers is they try real hard, boy, they think that if they get their chin really far forward they’re going to go a lot faster. And I think that that’s a mistake. Keep the chin back, as close to in line as possible. And, if you can breathe every stroke and it doesn’t slow you down, wouldn’t you be faster at the end of races? You would. So practice breathing every stroke sometimes. You know, butterfly is tough enough without having to say O.K., now let’s do a lot of it without a breath. So, I think it would be important to do breathing every stroke sometimes.


Let’s go through some of these drills, John. Come on now… not all the time are these perfect. I would like Jenny’s head not be going under the water so far here. This is called head lead undulation. Head lead undulation. She needs to try to do that without her head going under the water. But it’s a body emphasis drill. I don’t want her to kick her legs. I want her legs to be as shallow and move as little as possible, actually. Head lead undulation. O.K., now, this will be arm lead undulation. And again, Jenny’s head and her arms are traveling down way too much. Her arms need to travel right at the surface of the water and her head needs to not go under the water. Now, that’s getting a little better.


Now this is underwater recovery butterfly. What we’re working on here in underwater recovery is that early anchor. So you establish your rhythm down here. Establish your rhythm, sneak your arms up, reach here, and then back down here. Or you can do it out here. You can do an arm lead right here. Set that anchor, then vault your body over it and then underwater recovery back out into in front.


Now you want to take your breath right here, on the inward sweep, right there, when you take your breath, and then you land your arms and your face and your chest, all as one unit going forward. O.K., this is hip delay butterfly. You establish your rhythm with your arms down at your side, and then release, bring your arms around in front, and then go back right back into rhythm. Well, again, there’s no emphasis on kick here. It’s body undulations, but nothing on the feet.


Now, one thing I want you to know, is when we were warming up for the swim at the Pan Pacific championships, we didn’t time one thing. We did these drills. We did these kind of drills, right here. Delayed butterfly with a breath and back down in line, valuing the line. Now, she’s gotten a little better with her head there, it’s no going up and down quite as much as it was earlier. And she’s putting a little more body tension in it, so the rate is picking up just a little bit. Again, just more hip delay. This is our favorite butterfly drill, hip delay butterfly. And if you do it enough, you get to where the recovery is a relaxed flowing motion and not something that you have to work on.


The single arm butterfly with your arm down at your side, and what you want to do on this drill is allow them to breathe freestyle, and the arm goes straight up because you’re allowing them to be on their side a little bit more, and they’re throwing their wrists from their thumb right here through their wrists toward the other end of the pool. You don’t have to work on getting your arm down in the water. Gravity takes care of that. You throw your arm toward the other end of the pool, and gravity will drop it in the water for you. But you can establish distance per cycle with that swinging motion forward. That’s one of the things you want to do. The recovery in butterfly can help with the distance per cycle.

Now this is the single arm butterfly, of course, leading with an arm and then, well, this is three right, three no breath, and then three left, three no breath. This is a great way to swim distance butterfly. You can swim an awful lot of butterfly. Three right, three no breath, three left, three on breath. On your no breath, be careful that your swimmers don’t go negative with their chins back here. You want to keep their head neutral, in line as much as possible, and they take a breath, they’re here, staying in line, but they don’t go back negative with their chins.


You’ve seen my video that we talked about: “Swim smarter, swim faster.” You need to tear that part of the video out. Because I used to coach that way. That’s even for younger kids. Mostly for younger kids, so they don’t have to correct it later to go 57.8. Young kids in our camp do these drills all the time.


A couple of other drills. Let’s put that next tape in. We have two more drills that we just started doing this summer, and when we started it was pretty interesting. One of them is a balanced drill on kick boards, and we started out with about two kick boards and those kick boards were going all over the place. Now, you’ll see one of these demonstrators is Vera Torres, and she has six kick boards stacked up, and she is able to work on the balance drill with six kick boards under her. Can we go ahead and show that? We just took this Tuesday at the Olympic training center. O.K., there’s six kick boards. You’re going to get up on top of them. Horizontal balance drills with kick boards, because kick boards make you more unstable. So she’s having to work pretty hard on her balance here. As she slowly brings both arms down at her side, we call this angel drill right here. By the way, there is a pretty interesting project. She hasn’t been swimming since 1992 competitively. She started about eight weeks ago, and she’s going to try to see how fast she can go. Now, this is bringing one arm back. I can’t tell you… this looks so easy. When we were doing this, Vera said Oh, people are going to think this is really easy, but when you’re on a board, on those boards like that, unless you really have control of your body and your balance, you’ll be flying all over the place. Well, you can play with that for about five minutes, about twice a week, and I think it would make a huge difference. You start with one board and build up. Otherwise, you have boards all over the place.


Now, watch her swim butterfly here in slow motion. Now, you can kind of see what we value there, in that you want to get your forearms against the water as soon as possible. All right, now. Forearm, lead you elbows on the surface there. Bring your forearms down. Oh yeah. Now, once your wrists get under your elbows, bring your shoulders down to engage your lats, then once your hands get down here, release and you’re back forward. Jenny felt like this drill really helped her a lot. She was doing this in the diving well the day before she broke the world record in the 100 butterfly. There were some people watching.


O.K., this is Katherine Fox and another thing to work on that releasing in forward is vertical butterfly. Now, she is not jumping off the bottom. She’s swimming butterfly vertically and releasing and getting her arms back forward here. I really don’t… I don’t know. Johnnie could probably tell us. Well, you can do that for, you know, ten or twenty times, and again, it just gives them the feeling of releasing. I want them to be releasing back forward here. Getting their arms back forward so that the recovery is not something they’re working at. You see it from the side.   Now, if your swimmers are going like this with their hands, they’re swimming with their hands and not their bodies. Let them have their wrists stay straight. Do this a little bit? Yeah. But she does it less than she used to.


This is a vertical butterfly under water. I think that the key is the direction your hand is traveling when it exits. If it’s traveling back here, this direction, then you’ve got to change directions. But if it’s sweeping out, then all you do is continue it as a follow through forward. And I think this drill teaches that pretty well here. I’d like her to work on even being higher on her neck here. In flaring out just a little bit more.


Now, watch it from the side. Butterfly is a body stroke. Watch her use her body. There she goes. She sets her anchor, oh, yeah. It’s a great way to learn to set your anchors. Set the anchor. What’s pretty neat is when we Jenny broke the world record in the 100 butterfly, she happened to be about the last person to get out of the water, and she was out in the middle of the Pan Pacific pool doing vertical butterfly. It’s pretty neat to see. Without a doubt.

Let’s see… you can do the angel drill without kick boards and allow your swimmers to flutter kick just a little bit to get their legs up. And they could travel just a little bit, and they could do the angel drill right here. Just like that. Let’s see, tipping to the corner and underwater, angel, hip delay.

O.K. Now, the fifth strokes. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s by far faster to be doing underwater body undulations than it is to swim on the surface for many, many athletes. And, in my opinion, we need to be thinking of underwater work as a fifth stroke. It’s a different stroke than any of the other four. We need to train it. You need to teach the technique of underwater swimming. And you need to train so that it’s a weapon that is not limited by your conditioning. Jenny Thompson’s improved her underwater work. She doesn’t have quite the weapon under there that Katherine Fox does, or Misty Hyman does. But she has improved it and it’s definitely helped her butterfly.  Without a doubt.


You know, years ago, when I was swimming, people swam distance races and they did open turns. Because it was too hard to do a flip turn. It took too much air. One of these days, people are going to swim fifteen meters off of every wall in every race because it’s faster. And they’ll do it for a 16.50. Some day. If it’s faster for 16.50. Train what’s faster. Try  to learn to do it so your conditioning is not a limiting factor. I think that vertical dolphin kick has been a real important part of our training program. You can do it with your arms folded across your chest here. Don’t let it be like this, with your arms flying out. Have your arms stay in close right there. Once they get to where they do that real well, you can add weight to that. They can hold the weight right in here next to their chest.


And vertical dolphin kick. But don’t let it just be that they’re going through the motions. They need to be doing about thirty kicks in ten seconds. That’ll teach them the body tensions and the rate that the fast people are swimming at in order to go fast. You could put your hands up here on the top of your head after you’ve learned to do it this way. That makes it a bit more difficult. Jumping off the bottom and streamlining up and dolphin kicking, I think is a real valuable thing, to learn how to come off the wall in your turns.


And then, you can dolphin kick streamline vertically.   Just hold the streamline position right here and do that. Again, all those things, you talk about rate and talk about the body tension necessary to be trying to get to thirty kicks in ten seconds. And, you know, my opinion is probably that you know, vertical kicking for something like thirty seconds is a pretty ideal time to do it, and then rest, and then come back and do it again for thirty seconds.


Jenny Thompson kicks two ways in practice. She’s either flutter kicking on her back, or she’s dolphin kicking on her back. We dolphin kick on our back with our arms out here sometimes, and we dolphin kick with our arms down at  our side. Kind of a favorite set. I stole it from Eddie Reese because he told it to us, but we do ten 100’s, dolphin kick on your back, both arms down at your side on the two minute interval, and you don’t miss the kicks way under a minute on that sometimes. Jenny gets pretty close to a minute, but you talk about teaching body tensions and core body strength.


That’s a great set. That’s a real good set. You can let them be relaxed and be part of the rhythm down here a little bit. And when they’re underwater, they can have their arms up here and then they just bring their arms down to the side. But Jenny only kicks the two ways: flutter kick on her back. We don’t kick with a kick board. She doesn’t. The other thing I think is important is that when you’re dolphin kicking underwater, then you’re going to teach it. Be patient with your athletes. And you’re going to have to change your intervals a little bit because it’s hard work to be underwater there. When you think you’re doing an aerobic set and you’re asking them to do some underwater work off of every wall and requiring a certain number of kicks, it can become an anaerobic set pretty quickly. So, I’d make your intervals a little bit slower, make your distances a little bit slower, and, you know, require a certain number of kicks off of every wall underwater, and then put some buoys out there. You want it to be out to a certain place, and then of course, keep working on the rate through body tensions.


Let me go over here just a little bit with some training sets that we had enjoyed doing. Notice A there. Rhythm must not be sacrificed for volume. I doubt if Jenny Thompson   in practice swam over 50 meters straight of full stroke butterfly. Does that work for everybody? Probably not. But if she swam farther than that, her rhythm fell apart. So, we do shorter things with her. Misty Hyman, on the other hand, has been 4.44 for a 400 butterfly in practice, and she can keep her rhythm going for much, much longer. Maybe that’s why she’s a 209 200 butterflyer and Jenny doesn’t swim the event. And again, these stroke counts here are for athletes that are in college. And you may need to adapt yours to a different number. But I think it’s important to monitor the stroke count, and in a 25 yard pool, I’m working with in college swimmers something like 8-10 strokes a length. I’m also working on stroke rate, and we’ll work in a range, but we want people to have a stroke rate of something between 50 strokes a minute and 60 strokes a minute.

Now, what’s important about stroke rate? When you work on stroke rate, sometimes you’ve got to work on stroke rate much higher than you’re ever going to race. If you’re going to race at 55, do some training at 65. So that 55 is comfortable. You don’t want 55 to be your ceiling because you’ll get tired there much sooner. And you also want to work on lower stroke rates. So that you emphasize distance per cycle. Let’s say you’re working on stroke rate in butterfly. Work on distance per cycle at 40 strokes a minute. And then increase it to 45, and then to 50, and then to 55 and then to 60 and then to 65 and just see where their speed falls off, given the number of strokes you’re going to allow them to swim. Tell then they’re only allowed to swim 9 strokes for that 25 each time. I’ve already said that distance fly for us. We swim a lot of 3 right, 3 no breath, 3 left, 3 no breath. Jenny does do distance butterfly that way. And I asked her to be very quick on the full stroke, and as a matter of fact, that’s the drill she warms up with at meets. A diving well said, and we got this from Skip, and Pablo did an awful lot of this, and then I modified it just a bit, but then our diving well’s 20 yards long. Just a shade under 20 yards long. And we’ll do 20s on 40 seconds all out.


And by the way, we want them to practice breathing when they’re going all out so that they learn how to breathe at those high stroke rates.


… without a breath. We want them to be working on their line, not getting negative with their chin. Working on distance per cycle and you monitor their stroke count there, and for our athletes we’re trying to get them to go 5 strokes in that length. And then 20/20s on 15 seconds, as fast as you can go. We do allow them to breathe on that. And then we go back to the speed work. So what we’ve done is early in the set we’ve worked on speed before they got tired. And then later in the set we’re working on fatigue speed a little bit. This is the set that Jenny has done an awful lot of. And quite a few of our sprint butterflyers have. Now, the next set is a really tough set that a lot of people would say, Aw, that doesn’t look too tough. But those are real fast 50’s. And to be honest with you, the first 4, the key to it is that they swim the pace you ask them for. If somebody protects themselves for the end of the set, then the set’s not worth anything. That’s why Summer Sanders was great at it. Summer would be going 29 pluses right off the bat, or even 28 sometimes. Misty Hyman is also great at that. And then they’d commit to it early. And then bring those intervals down from there. …. That …s of butterfly and nobody yet has broken 50 on the last one. I think when they do they’ll fly right under the world record in the 200 butterfly.


Angie Westercreig — I don’t know if some of you know Angie, but she made the 1992 Olympic team at 28 years of age, she was in her fourth Olympic trials and it was a pretty amazing swim. Her lifetime best time at 28 years of age. But one day in practice she did this set and it was one of the most extraordinary butterfly sets I’ve ever seen. The freestyle in that set is aerobic swimming. But that interval is not all that easy. 120 per 100. And then a 50 butterfly on a minute, then 3 300’s, a 100 butterfly, 3 300’s, a 150, 3 300’s and 1 200 butterfly and she was under 2.14 on that. And that was a pretty amazing set.


Jenny I said diving well again because we spend a lot of time in the diving well with her, and one thing we’ve done is swim the 6 50s butterfly 1-2 seconds faster than she hopes her second 50 to be. And what we’re trying to do is get that second 50 at 30 flat. That’s what our goal is — to try to get that second 50 at 30 flat. She was 30.8 at the Pan Pacific championships. But the key there, again, is that those 6    be 100 percent effort and then you go right into the 8 100’s freestyle, 10 seconds rest, best average. And what you’re doing is you’ve built up lactic levels pretty high in those 650s. Then your body is buffering that lactate with the 8 100’s right afterwards. And there’s not a swimmer alive… I don’t tell them about the 8 100’s. But my team does know why we do it, and they pray all through the set we don’t do it, but then I can walk right up to 8 100’s, 10 seconds rest, and they know exactly what I mean, and they go right into it, and by the way, they don’t even get to the 130 interval on that last one. They have to start right away. Within about 10 seconds. Well, if she ever held 115s, I’d be ecstatic. I mean, she’s paralyzed when she’s trying to do that. Actually, she does get a little bit better on them. But that’s the best average she can hold. Jenny Thompson is a very good practiced swimmer, but she’s so big and kind of heavy in the water and everything. She’s not going to do phenomenal high-level repeats in practice. But, when you ask her for very special, shorter things, she can be real special on that.


And Misty Hyman kind of sets and actually, everybody on our team has done a lot of this last spring and summer. We’d go a thousand and every third 50 is fast butterfly, and then a 500 where every other 50 is fast butterfly. And what you’ve done is you’ve worked on speed again through the thousand because you’ve rested for three 50’s and then you swim fast for one and rest for three, swim fast for one. And then you bring that intensity a little bit closer together, because you only rest for one 50 with easy swimming. And then I saw Misty do this set and it think it’s pretty amazing down there at the end where she’d do 6 200’s, 6 150’s, 6 100’s and 6 50’s, and the odds are easy freestyle and the even ones are fast butterfly. And she was able to achieve those times, descend to fast fly from 1 to 3.


So, those are just some butterfly sets that we do. One of the things that I would like to stress to you is that I’m not into dulling the knife, dulling the special talent that people have in a certain stroke. Sometimes we can take, and I have to be careful with Jenny and with Misty, where we swim say, an awful lot of freestyle and butterfly with Jenny and an awful lot of butterfly with Misty and sometimes all of that can kind of dull that very special talent that they have. So, as a result, Jenny has done quite a bit of aerobic swimming with backstroke. And we’ve worked a lot of backstroke and freestyle into Misty’s training and then when she gets to butterfly, her skill remains real sharp, and we’re interested in doing that in training. Does anybody have any questions? Yes sir.


(QUESTION). All right, now look, flat back is where you start. Now, what I want to do is press my lungs forward and slightly down in the water and release my back a little bit toward the surface, right here. Then, I come back this way and I come back here to this line. I want to be back on a flat line right here. Have you ever seen butterflyers that carry water in here all the time? It never gets off the middle of their back? They’re not releasing their back. They’re never going to a flat back in the race, in their stroke and cycle. And I want them to do that. To be honest with you, that’s one  of the limiting factors for Catherine Fox on our team. We haven’t quite gotten her where she can release that back right there, and yet underwater she releases great. She’s awesome underwater. But on the surface, for some reason, she still has a little bit of margin, carries water in here the whole race. Never releases it. Yes.


(QUESTION). Starchy? Well, what happens is the axis… the butterfly is swum up here. Jut in the armpits and above. It’s right here. It’s not swum here at the waist. I used to coach butterfly. It’s a hip stroke. You want to get your hips going right here. You don’t want that to happen. You’re breaking the body right here. Like that. What you want to do is be undulating from up here, high in your body. So that axis comes right across here at your armpit. O.K.? The drills that I was showing here are the things that we work on and don’t let it be that you’re emphasizing the hips. Emphasize the manipulation of the lungs. O.K.?  Yes sir.


(QUESTION). Well, the only drills I know are the ones I showed you. I’m not hiding anything. Those are the best drills. And, again, what you do is say, don’t kick now. What we do in our team when we run a camp, and we have young kids in our camp. We see somebody who’s doing it right. And then we ask everybody to watch that one person do it. And that may be the only thing they do right in camp. It’s just this body undulation right here. May be the only thing. But as soon as they see somebody doing it properly, a lot of the rest of the kids pick it up pretty well. O.K.? I just don’t know any other drills to do that. I mean, I think all the drills, the vertical kicking and the body undulation drills are… that’s all I know. Yes?


(QUESTION). You know, I’ve never tried this, but I’ve often thought that maybe if you carried a ball right here under your chin, right there, now it’s got to be big enough so that it’s not negative. You don’t want to have them swimming like this. But if you carried a ball right here and had them swim butterfly, and if they dropped the ball, you know, they’re going out here. See if they can learn to swim and the other thing, the visual I say is keep your eyes on the surface of the water


just in front of you. Don’t be looking out at the end of the pool. Keep your eyes right on the surface of the water just in front of you. You take your breath, your eyes are right here. They’re not out there. Yes.


(QUESTION). That sounds like a good idea. I’ll use that. Yes, sir.


(QUESTION). The height of the athlete? I can’t hear the question. No, it’s all in relation to their body, in my opinion. See, I don’t care how tall the athlete is, I want him to sweep out right here, fix their anchor early, vault their body over as early as they possibly can, establishing distance per stroke, and then release back toward the line in front. And it’s in relation to their own body. Yes, sir.


(QUESTION). Well, she prefers being off to the side, but she’s going to do it in the middle, if she can or if she has to. And, you know, when it’s a real, real crowded situation, it’s tough to do. But, you know, if they value that, and they’re trying to do it, I don’t care how poor the warm-up conditions are, they’re going to be reinforcing in their warm-up what they’re going to value in their race. Even if they don’t quite get to do it as smoothly as in smooth water like you saw. Yes sir.


(QUESTION). The question is the difference between Jenny’s stroke now and say in 1992. In 1992, she was in the finals of the Olympic trial, I think she got fourth in the 100 butterfly and at that time, and by the way, for a 50, she wasn’t that much slower then than she is now. She’s a little faster now, but not a whole lot. But she is able to carry her power and strength and speed much longer because she now has it tied to rhythm and balance and line and posture. But it’s much more out in front. Back in 1992, her emphasis was back here, and she kind of had a hitch in her stroke and she had to really work to get her arms around. Now, it’s part of the flow forward, and it helps her distance per cycle, and yes, her distance per cycle is improved. Now, it’s pretty well locked in. She’s 21 strokes going down and 24 strokes I believe coming back. Yes sir.


(QUESTION). All right. Down here, you’ve released. Right here. And when I say release, your hands are traveling here and you can go ahead and let them release here. I would like… Jenny doesn’t do this. But I would like her to release and come forward with her thumbs first. I’m not interested in this, right here. Jenny kind of does this some. And I’d like to have her be… I think she’s be more relaxed if she came around leading with her thumbs right here. You release here, and come around leading with your thumbs. Summer Sanders led with the thumbs coming around. The reason I keep bringing Summer up is if the few times when her hands exited back here, and entered back in front, she was better than anybody. And she didn’t have a kick. Her kick was kind of like this. But you know what the great part of that was? It never got deep down here. So that there was resistance in the back part of her stroke. And so, even today, with the people that do kick a lot more, we’re trying to see how shallow we can make them. How shallow a part of the water can we swim butterfly in? I don’t want their legs way down here. Because there’s an awful lot of resistance there, and you’re having to work to get back up, and if you’re doing that, you’re going to be going uphill. I think in the past, by the way, back to this question. In the past, Jenny was back here, so that it took her a longer time to get around here. What did that mean? She had to come up more for the time for her arms to get around here in front. Now, she can get back in front much quicker and she is on a line. Much easier. The whole key is to swim faster longer.  Swim faster longer. Yes?


(QUESTION). Well, I want them to go in the water maybe with thumbs slightly down, and somewhere between right in front of the shoulders and maybe in just a little bit. I don’t want them to be absolutely together and I don’t want them to be out here. And I’d like the wrists to be just like this. And Jenny is a little bit like this. And some other swimmers that we have… Misty is I think is a little bit like this. And in my opinion, that means that they’re going to their hands instead of thinking about their body a little bit more. That’s one of the reasons I think Jenny can swim faster. Yes.


(QUESTION). I think there’s value in both those drills. But the reason we developed the arm lead hip delay butterfly, where you establish the rhythm up here and then you sweep and then you come back to here is so that you don’t get used to stopping back here in the back. So the emphasis is back to the line in front. But I do think there’s a real lesson to be learned when you’re back here and you learn how to recover from here. Just easily, as part of your body rhythms. O.K.? Great question.


(QUESTION). Well, no I don’t. We use fins sometimes during our butterfly training. By the way, I didn’t say that and I should have here, that we use mono fins a lot with our butterflyers, so that, again, I try to tell them not to rely on the mono fin to go forward. Use their body. Have the energy flow out the mono fin. But it really does strengthen your core tensions and, but again, any tool you use in any stroke, in my opinion, you don’t want to rely on paddles or fins or zoomers, or whatever, for your technique. You want to take that and have it be a tool that you teach with and then train proper technique with that. In other words, just because they put fins on, doesn’t mean they emphasize their kicking. It means it just follows through a little bit more and maybe they can concentrate a little bit more on the rhythm and their arms. I kind of try to warn athletes before you use any kind of equipment not to rely on it for their technique. Good question. Yes, sir.  Jimmy?


(QUESTION). Yeah, to be honest with you, Jimmy, I don’t coach from the waist down very much at all. It’s all up in here and if we get this right, legs straighten out to about the right distance, they stay shallower, and it’s… I mean, I don’t talk about how much to press down, how much you bend your knees, working up very much. It’s because the undulation comes up in here. Up here high in their body. Yes. They don’t like it, but we are getting away from it a lot. You know, one of the things we’ve done this summer, by the way, is, you know, Misty often kicks on her side and somebody said, one of the studies said that if you’re kicking on your side, in the transition to your front sometimes you lose momentum. Well, now we’ve developed a drill where we kick on our side, and I want them to rotate back and forth, both sides, three or four times, say in a 30 meter period of time during practice, not in a race, so that they learn to carry their body tensions through the dolphin kick as their body changes. One of the things that I try to do with athletes is assign them things to do during a drill or during a practice that will improve their awareness of their body tensions and their technique and that kind of thing. Yes, sir.


(QUESTION). No, I absolutely think that we ought to… that if I were coaching an age group team, I would teach them to breathe every stroke cycle so that their breathing is just part of their body rhythms. And because the more you breathe, the faster you’re going to be at the end of the race. And it shouldn’t slow you down. If your technique is proper. Yes?


(QUESTION). You know, one thing you might try to do with age groupers… The question is you do the drills, but then when you put the whole stroke together, it’s not quite there. There’s a couple of things I do. One, I’d have them only swim three or four strokes in a length before I’d require them to swim o whole length or 50’s or 100’s or whatever. The second thing I do is I might put a pool buoy on them and have them swim butterfly and say I don’t want you to kick at all. I just want you to work on getting your arms back in front. Back in front here. Kind of like you’re on a surfboard and you’re just going around like that. Kind of like that. Yes, it would because what happens is, I think their mental pictures go to too much up and down and not enough forward. So that’s just a thought. Butterfly is such a feeling stroke that it takes a while to get it done. Yes?


(QUESTION). Bilateral. Now what does that mean? Breathe into the side? Both sides, huh? Just Melvin Stewart? I’ve never coached anybody that breathes to the side. Katherine Fox played with it a little bit, but we haven’t really raced at it with a real high level yet. But, you know, Melvin Stewart was awesome doing it, and to me, it helped him maintain his line. Instead of going here and taking his head above the line and getting a little more vertical, if he was able to breathe here and it didn’t change your shoulders, and he was able to recover freely, I think it helped him maintain his line. So, I don’t think… what I try to do whenever I see a great swimmer, say like Melvin Stewart swim, is figure out what he’s doing, why he’s doing it, and try not to be too critical of the mistakes he might make. Let me just show the rates and let’s look at it from a technical standpoint, and then we’ll let it go.

Now, just see if you see anything that we just talked about.


Or am I just full of baloney? So, she’s better underwater. She used to be up with the first person. Just look at this swimmer right here. She’s hammering down on the water. I hope she never learns to swim it right. I would like to have Jenny’s wrists straighter on entry. That’ll improve her distance per cycle. And watch her right at the end. Where does she go? She’s looking for rhythm in front. She’s tired, she doesn’t have any more muscle left, rhythm in front. She can get faster because she had a bad turn and a bad finish. Her angle of attack stayed the same the whole race. Pat?


(QUESTION). Because she doesn’t go fast enough breathing every stroke. Thank you very much.

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