There is only one corner on the endurance version of the 100 Butterfly, but Torri Huske believes that corner can make the difference between a great race or a race that later regrets. Huske set the American record twice in the U.S. Olympic team’s swimming tests, and few would say her swings were below average.
But Huske says she struggled to find good flow on her butterfly turns and made this her top priority as she prepared to secure a spot on Team USA. You may be surprised to learn that a swimmer with her speed and ability has serious problems with her turns, but Huske says that making good turns can often be difficult.
“My swings were a real weakness last year,” says Huske, the best swimmer of the 100 butterflies before the Olympics. “Sometimes I do weird things with my head [during the turn], so I worked on getting my head flowing with the rest of my body. Sometimes my knees came out of the water [when my feet hit the wall]. “
The hardest part of her move to get right, says Huske, is the twist after the touch. Most of the time, she says, lift them too high out of the water by “pulling up with my hands when I” [grab] the wall. “Fortunately for Huske, during the exams the walls had no gutters to hold on to, like the Olympic pool will have.
The underwater dolphin kick is also a crucial element of the butterfly, especially at the Olympic level. Although some athletes could work on strengthening their kicks, Huske focuses on a different part of their body.
“I was trying to top up my lung capacity so I could do more aggressive underwater rides,” she says.
No need for a lot of butterflies
A longstanding belief in swimming has been that butterfly specialists shouldn’t practice their main stroke daily to get rid of the shoulder pain that sets in. Huske has also long held this conviction and says that there are many days when she makes little or no butterfly.
“I feel like it depends on the type of set we’re doing that day,” says Huske. “I don’t always fly in practice. Sometimes it’s a freestyle day or back or breaststroke swim. As for the butterfly in full swing, I don’t like doing butterfly exercises, so I swim more butterflies than drills. “
And during her dry training, Huske says, her exercises don’t just focus on strengthening her butterfly.
“I feel like all of the dryers and weightlifting exercises I do help with all of the strokes,” she says. “You can’t concentrate on one thing. You have to concentrate on everything so that your body is not too unbalanced. “