by Russell Mark // National Team High Performance Consultant
How can the best 200 fly swimmers finish the race so well? Are they just less tired than everyone else at the end of a race?
Good race strategy and management certainly plays a factor, but I believe that technical adjustments can also be made at the end of a fly race to help achieve the optimal finish.
For the most part, swimming fly is about having good distance per cycle. But your muscles will naturally generate far less force and hold less water on your 100th stroke versus your first stroke, so your speed will inevitably decrease as a race progresses…
…Unless! You make an adjustment to your stroke to allow your tempo to increase.
Did You Know?
For ALL of the best 200 flys in history, the fourth 50 tempo is equal to or faster than the second and third 50 tempos. (Based on the top 12 all-time male and female performers, and the top 14 all-time male performances, excluding 2008-2009 suit years.)
When a swimmer fatigues in fly, probably the hardest part is getting the arms up and over the water. Not making an adjustment for that can drastically slow the tempo and create unwanted up-and-down movements.
Here are 4 tips to maintaining tempo - and speed - at the end of a fly race:
- Shorten the back end of the stroke. Finish the stroke early.
- Focus on driving the arms forward into the entry
- Focus on pressing the body forward
- Focus on the catch
By putting less emphasis on the back end of the stroke to help the more important front end, you have a great opportunity to finish a race like the best do.
Further Reading on Butterfly:
Butterfly Technique Tips
Butterfly Pull Pattern
2013 World Championships Men’s 200m Fly. Notice how the competitors swim the last 50.