3000 Meters of Butterfly – Video

Courtesy of Nicolas Vannier (a prolific producer of swimming videos).

Via Youtube: Romain Louedec swims the 3000 m butterfly . 44 min 12 sec. And you?

Sounds like a challenge from Louedec. I think a lot of swimmers would’ve taken up the challenge in my day (the early 1990s), but swimming 3000 meters of butterfly may not give you what you want.  Sure, you’ll prove you’re conditioned, that you’re fit, and you’ll certainly show your mental toughness, but you’ll also be swimming fly for 40-60 minutes in first or second gear. While I approve of test swims like 1-5k of straight butterfly — yes, they can be fun for swimming grinders — I’d be more impressed with:

4x 10 x 100 butterfly on the 1:40, every 10th off the blocks for speed, 2 minutes rest between each round of 10. 


8x 10 x 50 butterfly on the minute, every 1oth off the blocks for speed, 2 minutes rest between each round of 10.

I’m a big believer in hard work, but only if you can keep your body position high in the water. (On a side note, I didn’t make big breakthroughs in butterfly until I trained under Coach David Marsh. This was when Marsh was young, before he became the head coach at Auburn, and 18 years before he helmed SwimMAC. Marsh got me in shape, got the base in place, but not swimming fly. He only worked my fly at race pace or near race pace.)

Still, you have to give credit to the grinders, like Louedec, in the video above. He holds his stroke for 3,000 meters, and sometimes swimmers simply feel compelled to test themselves.

Can you beat his 3000 meter butterfly time, 44:12?


If you want the best butterfly advice in the world, go here to see Michael Phelps Essential: 20 Butterfly Training Videos. 

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Simon Says
9 years ago

one-handed touch at 1050m!

9 years ago

This is just a funny vidéo, of course to prove that he’s conditioned but also to entertain himself.
First he was a swimmer but now he’s a triathlete for his second season.
he has good results this year,swimming is not his priority any more.

it’s fun like that


or that


Reply to  ptikabuto
8 years ago
Reply to  alex
8 years ago

(video n° 5 in the playlist)

Sean Justice
9 years ago

i don’t see a problem with doing a long set like 3000 for time every once and a while. Micheal Phelps use to do a 5000 for time (Bob Bowman explained in a talk about why he did it and what the swimmer gets out of it). I, personally, did 3000s for time and was an okay swimmer. There is benefit that does translate over into race performance. Now I am not talking about going to the extreme with 3000s for time, but maybe twice a season it is not a bad thing.

I also like practices for distance swimmers at least where you may go a longer swim and then try and hit pace.

Reply to  Sean Justice
9 years ago

Exactly – once or twice a season is good to challenge yourself.

Reply to  Sean Justice
9 years ago

I agree with Sean. Also, as long as he keeps in mind that his technique wasn’t the same as for race pace, a swim like this could provide some psychological benefits toward the end of a 2Fly. It would be fun to line him up next to the top elite 2Flyers and see how he’d compare with them time-wise for a 3K.

Joel Lin
9 years ago

I don’t think there is a debate. While it is cool to be a great trainer, it’s all about race performance. The old saying is true: “there’s no All-America for 100×100 on the 1:10, son!”

9 years ago

Not sure this is a great idea to regularly train for a race. BUT – 99.9% of our time as swimmers is spent in practice, not races at meets. Sometimes it’s cooler to say “I once swam a 3,000 fly (and was a 1:59 in the 200 fly)”, than just “I went a 1:57 in the 200 fly”.

Reply to  Tea
9 years ago

We are having a debate in my office right now whether this comment is sarcastic or not. Two of us think you are serious, one person thinks it is subtle sarcasm. Please end the debate for us.

Reply to  ChestRockwell
9 years ago

As a slightly older swimmer, I still train just for the sake of swimming, knowing I’m never going my best times again. I’d like to do an Ironman sometime – I wouldn’t win, it wouldn’t make me a better 200 flyer – but it’s still a good goal to push myself.

9 years ago

Great form. Race pace oriented set. Working the underwaters.

9 years ago

What a waste of 45 minutes of time that could have been spent productively training. Agree with Mel, fly should only be swum at race pace. It looks like he is fully submerged on strokes which would result in a DQ in a lot of LSCs. Mel did a set of 6 x 600 100 fly!, 200 ez, all 100s under 200 fly wr pace.

Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
9 years ago

But did those test sets help you get to the elite level? Or did you get to that level despite doing stuff like this.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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