Butterfly 3-3-3 is a simple drill that allows you to train fly longer, and keep your rhythm in check. We asked our friend McKenzie to demonstrate the drill (one of her favorites), and show how it’s helped her develop her butterfly.
Why Do It:
Swimming butterfly in practice becomes difficult if you don’t have a perfect stroke, and if you’re asked to go beyond the point of stroke breakdown it just doesn’t make much sense. Butterfly 3-3-3 allows you to practice fly without the stroke breakdown.
How to Do It:
1. Push off and take 3 strokes with your right arm.
2. Then take 3 strokes with your left arm.
3. Followed by 3 strokes of full-stroke fly.
4. If your pool is long enough, switch back to 3 strokes with your right arm, and continue the sequence.
How to Do It Really Well (the Fine Points):
Make sure to keep your head facing forward on the single-arm strokes. If you turn your head to the side, then you could slip into single-arm freestyle. Try not to use your lead hand too much for sculling. While McKenzie uses her lead hand just a bit too much, at age twelve she executes this drill extremely well.
McKenzie is a paralympic swimmer who competed recently in the 2008 Canadian SWAD (Swimmers With A Disability and competed in the S9, SB8, SM9 categories) CAN-AM Open Championships in Victoria, BC, Canada. In talking with McKenzie, we learned that this young swimmer, who copes with a host of bone disorders including osteogenesis imperfecta (commonly known as fragile bones), spends two and a half hours in the water every day, 6 days a week. Swimming has allowed McKenzie’s muscles to build up to the point that they are beginning to protect her bones. Because of this, McKenzie’s doctors gave her the OK to use the starting blocks for the first time while in Canada. Her comment about her starts, "I felt like I was flying."