Michael Phelps Butterfly Set Training

Butterfly Sets: How to Dominate Your Next 100m Butterfly

Michael Phelps Butterfly Set

“You gotta go out fast, and come back faster!” is one of those lines swim coaches love to use to explain racing strategy.

There are fewer swimmers who practiced this embodiment more consistently and more dramatically than the greatest swimmer of all time, North Baltimore’s Michael Phelps.

Time and time again, especially in the shorter races, Phelps has used his monster back-half to surge further ahead, or in the most dramatic and nail-biting of occasions, taking the lead on the final possible stroke as he did in 2008 at the Olympics against Mike Cavic of Serbia.

SEE ALSO: Michael Phelps Underwater Dolphin Kick Training [Video]

The following swimming workouts were created by Bob Bowman (with inspiration coming from the late legendary Stanford/Auburn coach Richard Quick for the second set), and are found in the Swim Coaching Bible (Volume 2), who used the sets with Michael Phelps to help develop that legendary back-half.

Two Butterfly Sets for 100m Butterfliers

Here are the butterfly stroke sets to help you build a Phelpsonian second 50:

Butterfly Sets How to Dominate Your 100m Butterfly


30 x 50 @ 1:30 (or 1:15 for short course)

  •  Alternate through swim (all-out), drill, kick. Cycle through 10 times.
  • The swim should be full effort, with the drill and kick being done with excellent technique and with a focus towards efficiency.

The set is designed to build overall speed and endurance over the second 50 meters of your 100-meter race.

As you should be doing anytime you are in the pool, keep your technique together whether you are swimming at full effort or doing drill.


10 x 50 at max velocity

  • Interval: The first 4 are to be done @1:30, and then one repeat each at the following intervals: 1:20, 1:10, 1:00, :50, :40 and :30.

This is the set that was based off of legendary Coach Quick’s work, and is designed to help simulate those awful final 20m of your 100m race where your stroke rate, technique and overall will to live begin to collapse. The set will skyrocket the levels of lactic acid in your body, and then teach you to adapt to it.

Bowman liked to have his athletes follow this set with 10×100’s of freestyle @1:30 (averaging a pace that would guarantee about :20 of rest) to act as a “buffering set” to better train the body to metabolize the lactate.

More Stuff Like This:

This is How Fast Sarah Sjostrom Swim in Practice. You don’t become the fastest 100m butterflyer in history without doing some super fast swimming in practice. Here is a look at some of Sarah Sjostrom’s practices and training.

Train Your Ability to Sustain High-End Speed with this Set from Olympic Coach David Marsh. This set for sprinters is one of the workouts that David Marsh used while at Auburn to turn them into a sprinting powerhouse.

3 Butterfly Drills with Sarah Sjostrom. Take your butterfly to the next level with three butterfly drills from Olympic champion Sarah Sjostrom (with video demonstrations).

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Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

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