How To Swim A Sub-57 100m Fly

How To Swim A Sub-57 100m Fly

By Katie Arnold//National Team High Performance Consultant  | Monday, October 6, 2014

Each year around this time, we reflect on the previous season and begin to shift our focus to the future. In our group, we examine the strengths and weaknesses of the team based on the previous season, and we talk about ways to maintain our strengths and improve upon our weaknesses. After this summer, the women’s 100 butterfly is the only event without an American ranked in the top 10 in the world. Based on this fact, I did some research into the history of this event to find out how the best swim this race.

Some quick facts:

  • Only 15 women have ever swum a sub-57 100m butterfly.
  • Of these, only 7 have ever done this in a textile suit.
  • 3 foreign women swam sub-57 this summer.
  • The last (and only) American to swim sub-57 in a textile suit was Dana Vollmer in London in 2012.

I collected splits, stroke counts and tempos from the textile swims (only 16 out of 25 had stroke count and tempo data available) and found the following:

  • The split range for the first 50 was 26.08-27.11, while the split range for the second 50 was 29.42-30.58. The average time difference from first to second 50 was 3.51 seconds.
  • Only 4 out of 16 races showed the women increase their tempo on the second 50. The remaining 12 had a tempo bleed between .01 and .08 seconds per cycle.
  • These women took 19-21 cycles on the first 50 and 21-25 cycles on the second 50.

So what’s the point? Simply stated, if we assume an average split difference of 3.5 seconds, then you need to be out in 26.7 and come back under 30.3. Regardless of individual race strategy, this guideline is a great starting point from which small tweaks can be made.

Below is all the data for these races.

Womens 100 Fly Sub57 Splits


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