Coach Pete

Expert advice for Swimmers, Triathletes, and Coaches

Tip on Butterfly from Gary Hall’s Race Club


Take a lesson from the greatest flyer of all time, Michael Phelps, and breathe every stroke (except on the first stroke off the start and turn). I am amazed at how few swimmers breathe enough in fly. Why breathe? Oxygen is the most important nutrient for our body. Without it, we die in approximately seven minutes. With it (and glucose) we produce the molecule that drives all of our physical activity, ATP. ATP is the fuel for our muscles. Yes, we can still produce ATP without Oxygen, but with Oxygen we produce about 15 times more ATP than without it! Not only are we providing more fuel for our muscles when we breathe, we also avoid building up one of the byproducts of ATP production without Oxygen, Lactic Acid. Lactic Acid buildup is responsible for the big monkey climbing on our back in the last 10 meters of our race. So keep your head low above the water (or breathe to the side) but breathe, baby, breathe! Why do you think Phelps always touches out his competitors in the 100 fly? He is charging with Oxygen, while others are tightening up with Lactic Acid.

phelps on fly


January 8, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment