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by Jeff Commings

July 23, 2021

This American record–holder makes sure her turn is nearly flawless

There’s only one turn in the long course version of the 100 butterfly, but Torri Huske believes that turn can make the difference between a great race or one that causes regret later. At the U.S. Olympic Team swimming trials, Huske set the American record twice in the event, and few would say that her turns were subpar.

But Huske says she’s been struggling to find a good flow in her butterfly turns and made that her top priority as she prepared to earn a spot on Team USA. It might surprise you to learn that a swimmer of her speed and ability has serious issues with her turns, but Huske says executing good turns can often be a struggle.

“My turns have been a real weakness this past year,” says Huske, the top-ranked swimmer in the 100 butterfly leading up to the Olympics. “Sometimes I do weird things with my head [during the turn], so I’ve been working on letting my head flow with the rest of my body. Sometimes my knees would come out of the water [when my feet hit the wall].”

The most difficult part of her turn to execute correctly, Huske says, is the rotation after the touch. Most times, she says, she lifts too high out of the water by “pulling up with my hands when I [grab] the wall.” Luckily for Huske, the walls at trials didn’t have gutters she could grab onto, which the Olympic pool will also have.

The underwater dolphin kick is also a crucial element of butterfly, especially at the Olympic level. Though some athletes might work on strengthening their kicks, Huske says she’s focusing on a different part of her body.

“I’ve been trying to fill up my lung capacity so I could do more aggressive underwaters,” she says.

No Need for Lots of Butterfly

A long-standing belief in swimming holds that butterfly specialists should not train their primary stroke every day to eliminate the onset of shoulder pain. Huske has long held to that belief as well, saying that there are many days when she does little or no butterfly.

“I feel like it depends on the type of set we’re doing that day,” Huske says. “I don’t always do fly in practice. Sometimes it’s a freestyle day or backstroke or breaststroke. As far as full-stroke butterfly, I don’t like to do butterfly drill, so I do more swimming full butterfly than drills.”

And during her dryland training, Huske says her exercises don’t focus purely on strengthening her butterfly.

“I feel like all the dryland exercises and weightlifting exercises I do help with all strokes,” she says. “You can’t focus on just one thing. You have to focus on everything so you’re not too unbalanced in your body.”


  • Technique and Training


  • Butterfly
  • Olympians