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500 Yards of Butterfly Makes You a Butternut

Making fly fun!

Laura Jones | December 31, 2008

Congratulations to the three newest members of the Butternuts: Jeff Maydak, 38, Tom Kline, 47, and Jeff’s sister, Danielle Maydak Denniston, 33. Sibling rivalry apparently made Danielle try the 500 yards of butterfly challenge, although she’s primarily a triathlete, and she beat her brother’s time by one second. The swimmers became the 99th, 100th and 101st Butternuts. All are members of the Noblesville Adult Swim Team in Indiana.

Founded in 2005 by Doug Church, 67, Dan Welklin, 56, and Raena Latina, 40, all members of NASTI, the Butternuts are a nationwide group of swimmers who have completed a 500 yard (or more) continuous butterfly swim that complies with USA or USMS swimming rules. It doesn’t have to be done in a pool, but it does have to be legal butterfly, Church says.

So how do you swim 500 straight yards of butterfly? “It’s all about getting relaxed,” says Church. “You have to ride the glide. It’s not that hard once you put your mind to it.”

All you need, in addition to doing the swim, is a witness who will vouch for your success. Times do not matter. For your trouble and the $25 cost of membership, you’ll get a certificate to proudly hang on your wall and a T-shirt. “We have members ranging from 9 to 80 years old, and we stretch from Maine to Texas, Montana, California and even Hawaii,” boasts their website.

From a summer day in 2005, when Welklin decided to try and swim a 500 butterfly and Church and Latina followed his lead, the Butternuts have grown by word of mouth.

Church loves the concept of swimming a 500 butterfly because it requires “fitness, focus, concentration and will. This is just one more way people can challenge themselves. It’s a way to continue to have goals.”

Check out the Butternuts online at grinswim.org/butternuts. You’ll find the rules for joining and the names and teams of all the swimmers who have made the swim and joined the club. Their goal was to reach 100 swimmers, and now that they have surpassed that, Church thinks the sky is the limit. “People do it on their birthdays,” Church says. “The stories [that people send in] are just amazing.”

Upon mention of the accomplishments of Peony Munger, Church was excited to welcome her as a potential new member. (Readers of the home page features at usms.org will remember Munger as the swimmer who recently completed 1,000 miles of butterfly, one continuous mile at a time.)

Out there in our membership are Butternuts and probably many other kinds of nuts. May you all find each other and glory in your “out of the mainstream” accomplishments!

USMS Wave Seperator

About the Author—Laura Jones

Laura S. Jones, a lawyer by training, has written about sports, health, and science for a variety of publications since 2001. She's also the author of a short story collection, "Breaking and Entering," published in 2011. Jones is an avid, although not speedy, open water swimmer and particularly enjoys 5K and 10K ocean swims with her much faster husband, Rob. She'll occasionally humble herself with a 400IM or 500 free in a pool meet, and a triathlon or two.

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