Exclusive Video: Tom Shields 200 Butterfly Underwater Breakdown

Tom Shields swims for the Cal Golden Bears under Coach David Durden. Shields broke the 200 yard butterfly NCAA record at the 2013 Men’s DI Swimming and Diving Championships.

Tom Shields 200 yard butterfly breakdown:

1st 25: 7 dolphin kicks – 5 strokes

2nd 25: 8 dolphin kicks – 5 strokes

50: 22.27 

1st 25: 8 dolphin kicks – 5 strokes

2nd 25: 8 dolphin kicks – 5 strokes 

100: 48.04 (25.77)

1st 25: 8 dolphin kicks – 5 strokes

2nd 25: 8 dolphin kicks – 5 strokes (but a long floating reach at the end)

150: 1:13.79 (25.75)

1st 25: 7 dolphin kicks – 6 strokes (finishing perfectly on the wall)

2nd 25: 8 dolphin kicks – 6 strokes (and a slight reach at the end, a little glide, to reach the finish)

200: 1:39.65 (25.86)

Underwater coverage of Tom Shields 200 butterfly NCAA Record:

Above the water coverage of Tom Shields 200 butterfly NCAA Record:

Follow Tom “Beefy T” Shields on Twitter here. 

Go to Tom Shields’ new website here. 


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Are you allowed to take an extra dolphin kick into the wall after a complete stroke cycle has been performed?


There is no stroke cycle in fly – only breaststroke has stroke cycle. You can kick as much as you want – you can have 5 kicks and one stroke as long as you do not pull your arms back, for example.


>as long as you do not pull your arms back

I meant this when you do only kicking, not on stroke off course. You cannot do underwater recovery and one part of arms (not including hand) must break surface.

AJ – yes. The only thing that people get caught on coming into the wall on butterfly (and usually in the younger groups) is an underwater recovery on the final stroke, as PsychoDad pointed out.


Thank you…..I just noticed a small dolphin kick into the wall as he approached his turn. wondered if it would have been a DQ


Wow! Great feature swimswam!!! Love this. His underwaters are great. One thing young swimmers, and many older ones do not know and appreciate is off the wall glide on turns. That is a very important part of longer distance SCY events. His kicks are great both underwaters and strokes.
One more thing to notice is not too much undulation and wasted up and down motion – just enough to help his stroke.

Joel Lin

Crazy simple and easy looking. You watch Tom Shields and start to wonder what the big deal is to go 1:39 in 200 fly. His whole race was just as a matter of fact elementary looking. Then you realize…

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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