The 200 Butterfly is considered one of the most difficult races among all the competitive swimming events in the pool. Watching Michael Phelps race the 200m Butterfly in a prelim, semi-final, and final heat at the Olympics is inspiring, but also terrifying!
Butterfly is the most physically demanding stroke, and subsequently burns the most calories. When you’re stroke is off, it can feel like you’re swimming with bricks tied to your ankles. It is no wonder that the 200m Butterfly is one of the least participated-in events at every level of competitive swimming.
“If it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you”
This seemingly impossible event intimidates most swimmers, but inspires others.
Meet Jules Perep! Jules is a fitness enthusiast and someone who’s always up for an adventure. He took up masters swimming as an additional form of cardiovascular training, and I have the pleasure of coaching Jules. It should be noted, that he has no formal competitive swim training experience. But that doesn’t matter if you have you’re determined, and earlier this year, Jules signed up for his fist masters meet! On the lineup was the 50 Butterfly!
His first meet was a success. After this initial 50 Butterfly, Jules was motivated to take on the longest butterfly race possible: The 200 Butterfly! The next meet was just a couple of months away, and even though he had never even completed a 100 Butterfly, Jules had a seed planted in his mind about conquering the 200 Butterfly. He was determined to finish the race strong!
We quickly ramped up the butterfly training and made some stroke adjustments. At first, it was a challenge to do even a 100 Butterfly continuously, but his determination was starting to pay off, and by the time race day arrived, Jules was riding high with confidence. He was set to put together a stellar 200 Butterfly!
At the Michigan Masters State Championships, Jules arrived ready, confident, but a little jittery about the impending uncertainty that was the 200 butterfly. He described his pre-race thoughts like this:
“the day of the race, I had butterflies in my stomach, which is fitting for a fly race. I was a bit sore from the 100 freestyle earlier, and the relay, but I was exited for what was to come. I went away from the crowd and my teammates to calm my nerves and focus. I lined up at the start, and when the beep went off…I felt an insane adrenaline rush, but I stayed calm and focused my energy not to exhaust myself too much. I finished the race with relative ease! The best advice I got before the race from my coach was “don’t even try on the first 50 ☺”
It takes hard work and determination to achieve your goals. We can look to stories like Jules’s as inspiration to reach our full potential and accomplish things we never thought possible. For Jules, his Gold Medal Moment was proving to himself that he could conquer one of the most challenging swimming races on the program.