Swim Speed Workouts Week 8-3 (She-Ra): “Fly ‘Till You Die” or “Strength Training”

Swim Speed Workouts Test Team logo

The Swim Speed Test Team is a group of volunteers that is reporting on their newfound swim speed earned over 16 weeks of the Swim Speed Workouts program.

Here’s what testers thought of this workout. You can try out the first six workouts of the Swim Speed Workouts program for yourself! (See below)


Jennifer M. (The Coach): I took a peek at this workout a few days early and I am not going to lie, I was scared!  That is a lot of butterfly for a non-swimmer.  I did do some substitutes as suggested in the warm-up, which was helpful and I did do fly/free on the 50s (which still equaled 500 of fly).  I was so pleased at being able to perform this workout!  My 200s were not as slow as they felt due to my fatigue level at that point and my fast 100s were only a bit off my best times which shows my increased muscular endurance at this point in the program.  My swim improvement really showed today in just finishing today’s workout while maintaining good form.

Catherine L. (The Number Cruncher): She-Ra 8-3 I believe is the most demanding workout to date. The warm-up was great and I think I’m learning that my body requires long warm-ups. The main set was a strength speed and power set.  The first set of intervals was 10×50 fly.  The small print said one could modify to 25 fly/25 FR.  That’s what I did and I did them on 1:10 taking about :20 secs rest.  The last ones weren’t my slowest either.  This definitely was a tough set.  I loved the 6 x200s – LOVED IT!  That was a true test of endurance for sure.  But I love longer sets.  The last set of the main set was 10×50 Fly again.  I am not a He-Man or a She-Ra and I waved the white flag after the 5th rep.  But this was a new max volume for fly for me and I am so psyched that I can do a 50 Fly now.  It’s all mental you know!  The earlier set made me confident for this set, but really I did die and my stroke was falling apart.  I wasn’t getting my arms out of the water and I was taking on water, so I decided to call it on this set. The speed set, well WHOA!  I was pretty tired. My first rep was 1:31, which should have been under 1:30, but I cut myself some slack after all that fly.  The second one was also 1:31 again after the 1:00 rest and the third one… I pulled off a 1:29 after a minute rest. With all that strength today, I couldn’t be happier.  I kept it together for sure.  My 1000 easy warm down was completed in 18:04. So I can hold it together after a 4250 yd workout. The tubing set was murder, I am not going to lie. I waved the white flag and think I might have heard a bugler playing Taps. But I have to say, I loved this most difficult and challenging workout and i guess i will publicly admit, forcing myself to butterfly is helping my strength, too.

Progress: I am not afraid of the butterfly anymore — it has grown on me and I don’t worry and squirm when I see it on the workout sheets. It seems like so cliche to say just “do it.”  It’s okay you won’t physically die at the end…When you just put your brain to the task you really do surprise yourself. The most I have ever done in the pool is 4000 yds, today I did 4250…my furthest ever.  Even when i was training for the past Ironman races, I had never gone beyond 4000 yds in the pool.  You might be wondering how long it took me to do an Ironman swim– last year…almost 90 minutes!  I know pool and open water is different, but I bet I have taken several minutes off my Ironman swim time.

Anything else:  You know, I never really appreciated the benefit of doing the butterfly as a triathlete before.  I figured it was a waste of time and energy.  I hear many people say “Learn the butterfly at 40? Why? You’re a triathlete; why bother? You’re never going to race it.” Well, I have learned the answer is that it is great for developing core strength, and I even think it helps develop the high-elbow catch and the reason why I can do it now is because of dedication with the tubing sets.  What you do out of the water really reflects upon what you can do in the water.   I just am so in love with this program.

Rebecca B. (The Open-Water Swimmer): Yikes. We were really working hard on those 50 flys. To accommodate our non-Olympic fitness levels we did the 50s on 1:30 with a big break between #5 and 6. Some of us used fins for part or all of the fly. The 200s were a welcome relief. We always love a big, long swim on Sundays. Very demanding but we did it and feel stronger because of it.

Chad L. (The Sprint Speed Racer): OMG – toughest workout yet. And that was from just reading the cards. I intentionally cut back on the reps for just about all the sets as I knew I wouldn’t make it through. I also need to work on fly as I substitute other strokes and I feel I am missing out on a big part of the program. Best part had to be the 200s with the 3rd 50 at 95%. Liked that set but it killed me for the harder stuff to come. Anyone who can do the entire workout as written is a warrior! Progress? Same as a lot of other observations I have made – I would never have been able to do what I am in the pool without Swim Speed Workouts. Speed and endurance have both improved.

TRY THE FIRST TWO WEEKS OF SWIM SPEED WORKOUTS YOURSELF! Based on our Test Team feedback, you will be swimming noticeably faster after two weeks on the Swim Speed program. You’ll have developed a high-elbow catch and a better feel for the water. You’ll have begun to strengthen your core and your swimming fitness will be rising rapidly. Click here to learn how to try Swim Speed Workouts.