Monday’s Practice: Butterfly Technique

This week we’ll focus on form and technique for the non-freestyle strokes, beginning with Butterfly. There will be videos linked to the drills below, I highly recommend watching the videos BEFORE completing the practice!

Working on…

  • Second kick
  • Breakouts and dolphin kick (Streamline)
  • Fly pull (elbows high)
  • Breathing (shoulders low)


200 Freestyle Warm up


Drills set – Fins (500/900)

10×50 @ :50

Odds – fly kick on side R down L back

  • Tight streamline
  • Initiate kick with sternum, Use Hips to follow through

Evens – Skate Drill

  • Keep it slow


100 Freestyle


Drill set (500/1500) fins

20×25 @ :30

5x Big kick, little kick, repeat 

5x Swim Fly: focus on kick rhythm… kick hands into water, kick hands out of water

5x L-L-R-R-F-F  Breathe on second pull of each direction. Keep head low when breathing forward.

5x 7 Underwater Dolphin Kicks (UDK)/7 Strokes (Fly)


100 Freestyle


Drill set (400/1900) NO fins

16×25 @ :30

4x Big kick, little kick, repeat

4x Swim Fly: focus on kick rhythm… kick hands into water, kick hands out of water

4x L-L-R-R-F-F  Breathe on second pull of each direction. Keep head low when breathing forward.

4x 7 Underwater Dolphin Kicks (UDK)/7 Strokes (Fly)


Main set (1800/3600)

2x Each Set… Complete each set twice before moving to the next one. 

Set #1

300 Free @ 4:15/4:30/4:45/5:00

  • FAST Turns

4×25 fly Perfect @ :40

Set #2

200 Free @ 2:50/3:00/3:10/3:20

  • Build

 3×25 fly smooth – 75% @ :40

Set #3

100 Smooth @1:25/1:30/1:35/1:40

2×25 Fly FAST @ :40

Set #4

1×50 Free @ :50

1×25 Fly All Out @:40


100 easy Cool Down  (3700)


Weights- Lift if able


Developing Your Best Non-Free

We have a quick three days before our first meet on the 10th, each day we’ll dig into a stroke, working on both the foundation of the stroke and refining technique. We’ll start with Butterfly and end with Backstroke.

To get prepped for this week, take a look at the video links below. Even if you’re a veteran swimmer, watch the videos. If you’re willing to work to change bad habits into good ones, you’ll get faster. If you fight the change, no one can help you.

Also below you’ll find an article that Swim Swam published last week about reducing frontal drag: Public Enemy #1 of fast swimming. Other than shaving and wearing tech suits, all of the listed methods of drag reduction are things you can start doing right now (Monday) to get faster. You should probably do them.

Note: Tuesday’s morning practice will be required, Friday will be a make up practice.

For Monday

For Tuesday

For Wednesday

Feel free to continue browsing videos to improve your best strokes, The Race Club is a great place to start.

10 Ways to Reduce Frontal Drag in Swimming

Courtesy of Gary Hall Sr., 10-time World Record Holder, 3-time Olympian, 1976 Olympic Games US Flagbearer and The Race Club co-founder. Original article found on Swim Swam.

Frontal drag is the number one enemy of the swimmer. Swimming is arguably the most technique sensitive sport on the planet. With water being some 800 times denser than air, the frontal drag forces that slow swimmers down come into play at much slower speeds than all other sports on land. For that reason, in order to become fast, we must learn how to reduce frontal drag as much as possible.

There are three types of frontal drag; friction, pressure (form) drag and surface (wave) drag. Researchers have shown that all three can contribute significantly to the slowing of a swimmer. In any given medium, including water, the frontal drag forces of an object are determined by its shape, its surface texture (friction) and its speed squared. Here are ten good ways to help reduce frontal drag.

1 – Keep the body aligned.

A curved body creates more frontal drag than a straight body. While some curve in our body is needed in order to create more propulsion, such as during the hip undulation in the dolphin kick, it is important that we bend, but not break the body. Too much curve or too much angle of one of our appendages sticking out causes an enormous increase in frontal drag. Keeping the body aligned requires having a tight core.

2 – Keep the head down.

Keeping the head down helps keep it in alignment with the body, but more importantly, a head down also can help reduce surface or wave drag. There is actually less drag underwater than on the surface of the water (think of a submarine), because we eliminate surface drag. Frontal drag is proportional to our speed squared, so ideally, we would like to see the head submerged during the fastest point in the stroke cycle, which I call the surge point. All four strokes have a surge point where the head should be underwater, even if it is slightly so.

3 – Pull underwater with a high elbow.

In the pulling motion of all four strokes, the upper arm is the ‘bad cop’, causing most of the frontal drag. By keeping the elbow nearer to the surface (except it backstroke) and more in alignment with our body’s motion, we can reduce, but not eliminate, the frontal drag caused by the forward motion of the upper arm during the pull.

4 – Wear the fastest technology racing suit possible.

The records set in 2008 and 2009 convinced all of us that the suits really matter. Even today, the best suits help reduce friction and keep the body tighter to reduce frontal drag.

5 – Shave all the hair from your body.

Although this is generally not done (or recommended) until post puberty, when significantly more hair grows on the body, shaving the entire body will reduce friction and make us slicker and faster.

6- Streamline off the start and all turns.

Getting into the tightest streamline possible creates a huge advantage when you are moving fast. The fastest point you will reach in a swimming race (about 15 mph) is when the fingertips touch the water off the starting block. The second fastest is when your toes leave the wall on each turn (6-8 mph). At either time, because of the exponential relationship between speed and frontal drag, you had better get into the tightest streamline possible.

7 – Keep your kick tight.

In freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke, the kick must be tight in order to help reduce frontal drag. With the former two, that means not bending the knees too much and in breaststroke, it means keeping the knees at or inside the hips.

8 – Double cap.

Covering up that thick head of hair and creating a new surface for your head with the reduced friction of silicone is another good way to reduce drag. Most athletes today will double cap, leaving the goggle straps between the first and second caps. The outer cap should be a thicker silicone material to maintain its smoothness.

9 – Wear low profile goggles.

Racing goggles should be strapped on tighter to the face and are a little smaller and sleeker than larger training goggles. The less they protrude from your face, the better.

10 – Point your toes.

One of them most common mistakes made on the start is not pointing the toes at entry. A German study recently showed that a relaxed foot creates 40% more frontal drag than a pointed toe. In general, the less splash one makes on the dive entry, the less frontal drag. The other common strokes where the relaxed foot causes more frontal drag is at the end of the breaststroke kick and the down kick in dolphin. In either case, keep the toes pointed backward to reduce drag.



Starts and Turns: Do Them Faster

Starts and turns. They can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. You can win or lose races with your start and turns, and it’s way more fun to win.

Below this week’s info you’ll find videos. Several for turns, several for starts.

I suggest watching them and writing down key points to think about while you’re swimming during practice. I’ll give you a few bullet-points from the videos for you to keep in mind, but it’s always better to write down the specific points that stick out to you individually. Writing specific, key points down is the best way to memorize them for easier recall later while you’re in the water.

We’ll be working more on fast turns and clean starts as the season ticks on. In order to make the most of your time, please come to practice having watched these videos and with ideas for things to work on already in your brain!

This Week

Loveland vs. Greeley West

This Tuesday we swim against Greeley West High School at the Greeley Recreation Center. Athletes please wear your team shirt to school on Tuesday to show your team spirit!

  • Athletes will be released from class at 1:15
  • The bus will leave at promptly 1:30
  • We may have some down time, so if you have any homework, do it!
  • Warm up’s start at 3:00
  • Meet starts at 4:00
  • We should return to the school by 7:00

2015 Keith Wiedemen Invite

LHS will be competing alongside a good number of teams this weekend, so lets show some Indian pride! This meet has a different format than most, with diving on Friday only, and the swimming events on Saturday.

Friday – Diving

Due to the number of divers we have, athletes are asked to find their own transportation to the Greeley Recreation Center on Friday.

  • Divers will be released from class at 12:50 on Friday
  • Leave LHS by 1:00
  • Dive Coach Jim Toomey will meet you at the pool before warm ups
  • Warm up starts at 2:00pm
  • Diving starts at 4:00pm
Saturday – Swimming

Unfortunately, I don’t have any information yet for warm up times, so some of this may change. For now, plan on…

  • Bus will leave LHS at 6:30am
  • Warm ups start at 8:00 (Complete guess)
  • Meet starts at 10:00am (This is correct)



Where to Place Your Feet

  • Dominant foot forward, toes over edge of block
  • Feet should be one hand width between feet laterally
  • Back foot should be about one foot size behind front
  • Base should feel steady and powerful

The Slingshot Start

  • Begin in a RELAXED position with your hands on the block
  • Keep head lowered, stare at the back heel of your front foot
  • On mark, shift weight to rear foot and add tension to arms by pulling upward
  • On the push off, initiate movement from rear foot

The Backstroke Start

  • Get airborne
  • Place feet side by side, high in the water, shoulder width apart
  • On mark, pull in an upward to a balanced position with your bum out of the water
  • Keep chin up and spine in a line



The Approach

  • Accelerate into the wall
  • Keep eyes at bottom of pool

The Flip

  • Tuck into a tight ball
  • Rotate to your stomach AFTER the flip
  • Keep arms straight, pulling into streamline
  • Keep head down, tucked to chest

The Push and Breakout

  • Push straight off the wall
  • Rotate to your stomach at a steady pace
  • Kick hard and fast right off the wall
  • Hold streamline tightly
  • Do not breathe on first stroke

Wednesday’s Practice: Distance Stroke Mix

Today is the last big hoorah before we switch gears toward sprinting and power. The main set focuses on distance, endurance and stroke maintenance. Fight the feeling of getting sloppy. Use each change in stroke as an opportunity to re-set your form and continue smoothly. Keep your pace as steady as possible throughout the 500’s from the first 25 to the last.

Today is also the last day coaches are allowed to contact swimmers until December 28th, so have a great and safe Christmas!

If you’re able to make it to any pool at some point during the next 5 days, that would be extremely beneficial to your training season and make the transition into the “power phase” easier to handle. Don’t worry about any big or complex swim sets, even just 30 minutes to an hour of pool time will make a huge difference for the better.

See you on Tuesday the 29th!

Wednesday’s Set

Warm up (400)

400 Easy – Free/Back by 50


Kick Set (750/1150)

3 Rounds Dolphin Kick w/ Fins

4×25 Underwater @ :40

1×50 All Out @ :50

100 Easy Flutter @ 1:20/1:25/1:35/1:45/2:00


Drill Set Rhythm (500/1650)

20×25 Fly with Fins :30

  • focus on 2nd kick


Pull Set (500/2150)

2×250 fins and paddles @:10

  • Smooth
  • Rotation
  • Breakouts


Main Set (2000/4150)

4×500 Stroke(choice) Free

  1. 50 400 50 @6:45/7:10/8:00/8:45
  2. 100300100 @ 7:00/7:30/8:20/9:15
  3. 150 200150 @ 7:20/7:50/8:40/9:30
  4. 200100200 @ 6:45/7:10/8:00/8:45


Drill Set (300/4450))

6×50 Breast @ 1:00

  • Odds – Swim
  • Evens – Drill


 Sprint Set (250/4700)

10×25 @:40

1-3 BNF

4-6 BNF

7-9 Free

300 Easy Cool Down (300/5000)

Featured image: JD Lasica

Monday’s Set – Fly

Todays focus is on the stroke everyone loves to hate: Butterfly.

It’s arguably faster than freestyle, but it takes so much guts that it’s rare to see a swimmer excel at fly. You have to be strong and willing to grit this stroke out in order to see it’s full potential.

Have fun with this today, relax, focus on form and timing. You’ve got it.

400 warm up

  • Every 4th 25 choice stroke

Kick set- Fins (500/900)

10×50 @ :50

Odds – fly kick on bk

Evens – free kick with board

Drill Set (400/1300) – Fins

16×25 @ :30

  • 1-4 Right only-Left only-Front  breathe on every stroke. Keep head low when breathing forward.
  • 5-8 Dolphin kick on side, hands at sides
  • 9-12 7 Underwater Dolphin Kicks (UDK)/7 Strokes (Fly)
  • 13-16 Swim Fly: focus on kick rhythm… kick hands into water, kick hands out of water

Pull Set (600/1900) Buoy and Paddles

3×200 @ :15r

  • Breathing on 4/5 by 50
  • High elbow catch and pull

Main set (1400/3300)

Complete each set twice before moving on to the next one, adjust intervals as needed. Keep it challenging. 

  1. 300 steady free 4:00/4:15/4:45/5:00

                 3×25 fly @ :40

  1. 200 steady free 2:40/2:50/3:10/3:20

                 2×25 fly @ :40

  1. 100 easy free 1:20/1:25/1:35/1:40

                25 fly all out @ :40

100 Easy Cool Down  (3400)