ONE Drill of the Month: Fly Progression with SWAT

By Shawn Klosterman
November 29th, 2017

SwimSwam would like to thank SwimmersBest for sponsoring our “Drill of the Month.” This is a SwimSwam recurring feature that brings drills and idea submissions from various creative and innovative coaches all over the world.

This butterfly drill sequence was submitted by Erik Wiken, newly hired Head Coach of the Southwest Aquatic Team (SWAT) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Coach Erik and his demonstrator, Cassie Ketterling, use this short fly progression to focus on getting into the catch quickly, maintaining a great body line during the stroke and the importance of higher tempo.

Power Phase Drill focuses on getting the finger tips down, the arms into an EVF position while maintaining a good body line. The hands accelerate through the propulsion, nearing one another under the chest and hands flare away from the body at the finish, near the navel. This flaring away seems to help with a lower, easier recovery of the arms.

12K 1 Fly Stroke asks you to maintain your line through the fly stroke, driving straight forward (flutter kick never stops). I ask kids to accelerate the hands out & away from their body (towards lane ropes) to keep arms low and landing soft out in front of their shoulders (fast hands out, soft hands in).

Flutterfly removes the 12K and increases the intensity. The idea is to swim fast and go directly into the catch, no delay, which can cause bigger, slow out sweeps and timing issues. This is my favorite drill of not only fly, but all strokes. The “fast hands out, soft hands in” can be done here and should be a focus to make the fly smoother. I will also tell swimmers to reach for the gutter each stroke as another way to say it.

Flutterfly to Regular Fly is used to try and keep the tempo and intensity up without a drop into regular fly swimming. Take the quick to catch focus and tempo of the Flutterfly and move into regular fly. I cut a SCY pool in half, 1st half the Drill & 2nd half Swim. If that’s too long go 4 strokes of each and finish Power Phase, building to 12.5 yards of each.

Additional notes from Coach Erik:

  • The first 3 drills can all be done with a snorkel at first. Seeing the hands as they go through the stroke is of extreme benefit.
  • Start these by breathing after a power phase, during the 12K and shorter distances of no breath Flutterfly (6 strokes). Breathing, for most flyers, should be learned happening early in the cycle. Go to air as the finger tips go down and eyes return upon exit into the recovery. I work this in once we’ve gotten through this with eyes down.
  • Have your swimmers who “get it” show the group if you don’t have the time/equipment to video everyone. If they can articulate it as well, let them speak to it. This can sometimes lead to a faster and better buy-in than when a coach speaks to the group.
  • Upon mastering the drills, we would look at other finer points: increasing distance per stroke by looking more detailed at her chest press & how it relates to her line, kick strength, etc, through more video work and short distances of regular fly swimming.

Southwest Aquatic Team (SWAT) is based out of Milwaukee, WI. The team has approximately 270 swimmers and practices out of several high schools in the Southwest communities surrounding the city. The team was started by Dale Schrank in 1982 when two small area clubs came together to form SWAT. SWAT has been home to a host of Top 10 NAG, JR, SR, and Olympic Trials Qualifiers along with several of its alumni swimming college and now coaching for the team after their competitive careers.

Head Senior Coach Erik Wiken recently joined the staff in November, after a stay in Lincoln, Nebraska as the head coach of Heartland Aquatics. This job is a bit of a home coming for Erik, as he swam for SWAT from age 9 to age 18. During his time in Nebraska he held the Age Group Chair and Technical Chair positions, hosting coaching clinics and an LSC elite camp during his tenure. His focus now is solely on the 13 & Over division at SWAT and hopes to continue the rich tradition of swimming he experienced as an athlete for so many years.

Cassie Ketterling is a Senior at Oak Creek High School and has been a member of SWAT for nearly a decade. She recently committed to the University South Dakota this fall after which, she qualified for Winter Juniors at the WIAA Greenfield Sectional Meet in the 100 Fly. At the state meet the following weekend, she placed 3rd in the 200IM and 6th in the 100 Fly. Cassie will be traveling to Iowa City, IA for the West Winter Junior National Meet, December 6-9.