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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > Apr/May 2016 > BUTTERFLY FOR EVERYBODY


Butterfly need not be grueling hard labour. Follow our five steps to easy fly

In 2010, reporter Kevin Helliker wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “I can swim mile after mile of freestyle. But a single lap of butterfly leaves me gasping. In an age of ultramarathons, Ironman triathlons and crowds chugging up Mount Everest, long-distance butterfly is the new fitness frontier. The sight of a swimmer doing lap after lap of butterfly garners attention of the sort that merely finishing an Ironman triathlon no longer generates.”

At age 54, though I’d easily completed a 47km Manhattan Island Marathon swim, anything over 50 metres of fly felt like an exhausting ordeal. At 65 –without arduous training – I can swim an evenly-paced, smooth-stroking 200 metres of what I call Easy Fly.

Though Easy Fly is designed to prioritise ease more than speed, it allows ‘average’ swimmers to set personal records and even win medals in masters competition. It does so by taking advantage of existing (i.e., natural) forces.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

As spring finally arrives, it is time to start planning your summer swims. We have features on wild swimming in Spain and Florida and full event listings for races in the UK and around the world. Plus, we report from Russia and the UK on the final flurry of the season’s cold water swimming competitions. In this issue’s performance zone, as well as all the usual training and nutrition advice, we teach you how to master easy butterfly. This issue we celebrate a true pioneer of the open water: Mercedes Gleitze, the first British woman to swim the English Channel, was an independent working class woman who promoted open water swimming to a new audience.