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“Free IM” Method by Coach Paul Yetter

“Free IM” Method by Coach Paul Yetter

“Free IM” is a method of training IM. This method substitutes Freestyle for Butterfly.


Some of the benefits may include:

  1. Increased velocity and improved body posture during Backstroke swimming within an IM set.
  2. Increased velocity and improved body posture during Breaststroke swimming within an IM set.
  3. Increased velocity and improved body posture during the final leg of Freestyle swimming within an IM set.

While many athletes train a butterfly stroke that does not affect the other strokes in an IM, there are plenty of athletes who train a butterfly that doesn’t hold together as well as we’d like it to during training; for this reason, taking the fly out of the set (and putting it in later in the day or week) we can indirectly affect the fly training that we do each week. We swim better strokes at a higher velocity and with a more consistent, natural rhythm if we plan for this type of success in Fly & IM sets.

Additionally, we often give our athletes a 2000-4000 meter IM set as a way to train the athlete’s aerobic/anaerobic threshold. The butterfly portion of IM training, for some, tends to be harder than freestyle and due to lack of expertise over a given distance, the athlete may experience a heart rate that is either too high or a heart rate that fluctuates too much within a given exercise.

Certainly Backstroke and Breaststroke pose potentially similar issues to a particular athlete (heart rate is naturally higher on backstroke…athletes tend to hyperventilate easier on a quick breaststroke), but for fly it’s more pronounced, particularly for athletes at the AG level.

Because of these implications, Free IM allows the athletes to stay even keel during a threshold set.

I like to mix a good amount of “Regular IM” into training, but my athletes tend to do more Free IM or Back-Breast-Free IM when compared to regular IM. I like to supplement this Free IM training with strong Fly sets that are focused on building a relaxed, rhythmic stroke.”

Video Demo of “Human Stroke” and Underwater Turns

This blog post was provided by Coach Paul Yetter answering a member question regarding “Free IM” and the “Human Stroke” drill.

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