By its nature, the butterfly stroke comes off as one of the most violent strokes in competitive swimming.
To succeed at the butterfly, a swimmer must thrust both arms forward in a circular motion, slapping the water with such force that waves are the byproduct. Meanwhile, the legs must be synchronized while producing a fierce dolphin kick. The stroke is known to be one of the most difficult in the sport because of its complex nature.
Yet, when Haddon Township head coach Maura McDermott talks about senior Brad Donohue’s performance in the event, she does so with a smile and great sense of joy.
“We continue to talk about how pretty his stroke is,” McDermott said. “We love to watch him swim because he makes it look so easy.”
If it looks like the event comes naturally to Donohue, it’s because it does. Donohue, a junior, has been taking part in the event since he first started swimming competitively at age 8.
“I just practice everyday and drill a lot,” Donohue said. “It all just sort of follows.”
Donohue jumped out to an early lead in the first 25 meters of the 100 butterfly on Tuesday and never looked back, winning back eight seconds in Tuesday’s match against Colonial Conference foe West Deptford. His performance was the finest of the day for a Hawks squad that fell, 109-74.
“I just like to go out fast for my races,” Donohue said. “I know my training helps me keep my speed up and that’s what helps carry me through races.”
For Donohue, the motion of the butterfly now comes easy. He doesn’t have to think about his arms and feet striking the water at the same time; it just comes naturally.
Not that it was always that way.
“It was tough at first,” Donohue said. “(The hardest part) was getting the technique down, compressing your chest and working on the push underwater.”
Donohue—who is also one of the Hawks top freestyle swimmers—has big expectations for himself by season’s end.
“I would definitely like to make it to finals in states and see where I can go from there,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Hawks continue to make strides as a team. Although Tuesday’s result dropped the squad to 2-3, more than a dozen swimmers achieved personal best times. In a sport that is more about racing yourself than the competition, that type of result is looked upon fondly.
“When I pulled them in (after the match) I asked how many had personal best times and about 15 hands went up,” McDermott said. “We are a young team and we keep dropping time every meet. What more can I ask for from the kids?”
Haddon Township will look to move back to .500 Thursday when it takes on Eastern at 5 p.m.