how not to pace your 200 butterfly

How NOT to Pace Your 200 Butterfly (Video)

Swimmers are a weird bunch, but within our intrepid group lies a number of sub-sets.

You have the Alpha-male sprinter with the chest-pounding, spitting and shadow boxing. You got the breaststrokers with their weird knee-hip-ankle flexibility thingy that even fellow swimmers (but clearly not breaststrokers) understand, and of course, you have the distance swimmers who mow through ten of thousands of yards at a time with ease.

And then, you have the butterfly stroke.

No matter where you are at in terms of your swimming career, or what your favorite event is, the 200 butterfly will always instill a certain amount of fear in you. One of my coaches called the event “the Man Maker” when I was a young boy, and to be frank, I was pleased to be doing my distance freestyle work on my own rather then swimming with the butterfly group. (On top of the difficulty of the stroke, they hit each other during practice way more than the rest of us combined.)

SEE ALSO: How to Develop a Monster Underwater Dolphin Kick


Below is a video from a tri-meet that was held between Harvard, Yale and Princeton during January of 2011.

This is one of the great fears of the competitive swimmer. That their conditioning and stroke will fail them thoroughly and completely at the end of a race.

SEE ALSO: Butterfly Sets: How to Dominate Your Next 100m Butterfly

Keep your eye on the brave young man in lane 3.

Edit: In case you were wondering who the brave swimmer was, it was Princeton’s Charley Wang. After taking it out in a 51.52, he brought it back in a 35.3 on that last 50.

He wasn’t the only one to take it out like a wild man that day, his teammate David Reid split a 54.99 at the 100 and came home in a 34.4 on the last 50. Big ups to Braden from SwimSwam for the tip!

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

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