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Brian Suddeth alias Fly Guy or Honu is an American open water swimmer who specializes in open water distance butterfly, coaching / guiding blind and low vision swimmers, and coaching active military swimmers from any Branch for free (and thank you for your service). Called "one of America's premier butterflyers" by Steven Munatones (though near the bottom of a very small group of such open water athletes in the world), he is a Total Immersion stylist, registered with Mensa, and a computer security specialist who lives with his wife Margaret and their two Eagle Scout sons in Bowie, Maryland, USA. Suddeth researches the swims of other open water butterflyers, and has compiled a list of Open Water Butterfly Swims with speed comparisons.
Open Water Swimming Career
Suddeth started beginner swimming lessons in 2006 at age 45 as an adult onset swimmer, and has had surprising success at open water distance butterfly swims in a short "open water swimming life" with unprecedented swim completions in multiple swim events, and all non-wetsuit. He has joined a very short list of international athletes who compete in the specialty of open water butterfly for distance. A Century swimmer with multiple 10K+ pool swims, he pool trains at the Prince George's Community College natatorium in Largo, Maryland, USA, with the Arundel Breakfast Club Masters group in open water, and has received invaluable support and coaching from distance butterfly master Dan Projansky. To date he has completed two of America's Top 100 Open Water Swims (neither in butterfly yet) and plans to continue to do more. His goals are to move into longer open water butterfly swims, set "first butterfly" non-wetsuit records in new events around the Chesapeake Bay and elsewhere, and earn a place in the [Half Century Club] when he passes 10K in open water. He is is a volunteer tester for the Swimmit app, and a frequent volunteer content contributor, spam fighter, and editor for Openwaterpedia including authoring the page How to Edit Openwaterpedia Pages.
His first completed open water mile butterfly was performed at Rodney Scout Reservation in 2010 during a Scouting mile swim challenge.
He was the first person to complete the One Mile Bay Challenge swim at the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in butterfly in (2011), completing the swim in 42:46 (shown below). He repeated the achievement in 2013 with a time of 43:00. (Suddeth is to the right at the beginning of the 2011 GCBS video where they show the start of the 1-mile swim event).
He has completed several other open water events including several all-butterfly mile events, the 4.4 mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in 2012 in mixed strokes where Craig Dietz also competed. A traditionalist (i.e. naked or non-wetsuit swimmer), he prefers to wear Jammer style suits. He has only worn a wetsuit in an open water event when serving as a swim angel guide for a blind or low vision swimmer when the water temperature was too cool for concentrating on safely monitoring the escorted athlete without one.
He has made friends with other distance swimmers and open water Butterflyers, including master butterfliers Dan Projansky*, John Batchelder, Vicki Keith, and Julie Bradshaw, Penny Palfrey, Brenton Williams, Total Immersion founder Terry Laughlin, Craig Dietz* (the Limbless Waterman), Steven Munatones, Frazz comic artist Jef Mallett, Zendurance founder Shane Eversfield*, Charlie Tupitza, international swimming star Jaimie Monahan, the Frequent Flyers, Triple Crown Bill Shipp*, Dave Barra, and triathlete Brent Kynaston, and hopes to one day swim with each of them or even with Michael Phelps (*=swim completed). He has been researching and reading about the exploits of the Tiger Twins, twin brothers Jonathon di Donato and James di Donato who set amazing open water butterfly distance world records in the 1980's and who also inspired Vicki Keith, and hopes one day to meet and even swim with either or both of them.
Suddeth started swim classes in 2006 partly to be able to pass a basic Scouting swim test so he could enjoy more activities at scouting summer camp with his sons, and partially as rehabilitation for arthritic knees, one of which was traumatically injured in an childhood accident. The sedentary nature of a desk bound computer related occupation had taken a toll on his health and mobility. He said "I swim, do Tai Chi, and ballroom dance with my wife so I can walk." Adding swimming and other exercises became a source of basic mobility and pain management for him, and has allowed him to walk without frequent use of a cane for the first time in many years. This physical transformation lead to him being recognized as a wellness inspiration by the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN) in 2014, who published an article in their National "President's Challenge" newsletter describing his achievements [Get Inspired Link). Suddeth has since earned the Presidential Champions PLATINUM Award in 2015, the highest level awarded through the PCFSN. His decision to specialize as a butterflyer came after he progressed quickly in freestyle following the Total Immersion program, and chose to purchase the "Betterfly" or "Butterfly for Boomers" DVD from Terry Laughlin, wanting the challenge of the hardest stroke, and wanting to see if he could survive it.
Coaching Blind Swimmers
In 2014 he was coach and swim angel guide for blind untethered swimmer Mark Rew in Mark's first unprecedented swim, accompanied by kayaker Peggy Connor, an event which they repeated in 2015 with Mark cutting nearly nine minutes off his previous mile time. Mark and Brian have been nicknamed The Odd Couple at their gym and among local open water swimmers as it is unusual to have a partnership of two athletes, each setting unprecedented swim records in separate disciplines. Suddeth is currently coaching an additional limited vision athlete Denna Lambert who completed her for her first sprint triathlon in 2015. He has signed up with Athletes Serving Athletes as a "Wingman" to help coach other blind swimmers in how to achieve their goals and is a guide swimmer volunteer with the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Suddeth's coaching of blind swimmers and leading them in open water swims has earned him the additional nickname the Guide Fish. Suddeth and Rew are also fans of a specific swim tether for guiding which they came across in 2019. The Lending Sight Swimmer tether system by Perceptual Positions is a professionally made guiding tether sold by a small LLC to raise money for awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder. The company is the brainchild of Deb Conley who is an amazing person. They are also fond of the Safer Swimmer float system which gives an additional layer of confidence for any open water swimmer who needs the safety of being easily visible to lifeguards, boaters and others along the shore.
- 2016 Completed Open Water Coach certification program after discussions with Steven Munatones.
- 2015 Discussing Total Immersion Coach certification with Terry Laughlin.
- 2015 Started sharing Total Immersion swimming skills with low vision paratriathlete Denna Lambert to prepare her for her first sprint triathlon.
- 2014 Started sharing Total Immersion swimming skills with blind athlete Mark Rew to prepare him for his goal of an open water mile swim.
- 1980's-current Certified instructor in many sports and skills commonly taught in Scouting, 40 years+ in Scouting, and raised two Eagle Scouts.
Coaching Military Swimmers
Mr. Suddeth frequently meets at pools with military personnel training for SEAL, Rescue Swimmer, and similar specialties. He's provided informal coaching, guidance, tips, and video feedback to improve their swimming in Combat Swimmer Stroke, Total Immersion Freestyle, and even escape and evasion drills. Thank you for your service. Come back to us.
- Rodney Scout Reservation - Mile Swim BSA - First Butterfly Completion 2010
- GCBS One-Mile Challenge event record - First butterfly 2011
- GCBS One-Mile Challenge event record - Fastest butterfly 2011
- Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - One Mile Bay Challenge - First Blind Completion (Guide) 2014Race Results
- Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - One Mile Bay Challenge - Fastest Blind Completion (Guide) 2015
- Oxford-Bellevue Sharkfest First Butterfly Crossing 2015 Race Results Race Results
- Oxford-Bellevue Sharkfest Fastest Butterfly Crossing 2015
Open Water Swimming Timeline
- 23 October 2006 Started beginners swim class at age 45 at Sport Fit training center.
- 5 August 2007 Mile Swim BSA Award (with painful difficulty) (pool at BSA camp).
- 6 November 2007 Started Total Immersion freestyle training (DVDs "Freestyle Made Easy" and "Betterfly").
- 15 February 2009 First time swimming 1-mile in continuous butterfly stroke (pool).
- 5 August 2009 Double Mile Swim BSA Award (pool at BSA camp).
- 15 November 2009 First 10 km marathon swim in Freestyle (pool at Sport Fit).
- 7 March 2010 First 5 km pool swim in butterfly stroke (pool at Sport Fit).
- 6 August 2010 Mile Swim BSA - Open water butterfly (a first at this camp open since 1923), Rodney Scout Reservation, North East, MD.
- 12 June 2011 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - One Mile Bay Challenge - First Butterfly Crossing (#1300 All butterfly - non-wetsuit) 42:46. Current record in this stroke & event. Results
- 7 August 2011 First 1000 swimming miles logged.
- 25 March 2012 U.S. Masters Swimming MD LMSC Meet - competed in 100 & 200 Fly and 500 Free.
- 13 May 2012 Centennial Lake, Ellicot City, MD 1-Mile Swim (#69 - first place male 50-54 non-wetsuit) 33:04. Results
- 27 May 2012 25th Anniversary Jim McDonnell 5K Lake Swim, Lake Audubon Reston, VA (#356 non-wetsuit) 1:58:15. Results
- 10 June 2012 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim 4.4 mile with about 1-mile in butterfly (#302 - 606th out of 640 overall swimmers / 135 out of 140 - non-wetsuit) 3:11:47. Results
- 9 June 2013 Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - One Mile Bay Challenge - Second butterfly swim (#1531 Wave 4 - 398/410 overall swimmers - non-wetsuit) 43:00 (Didn't break my record! Rats!) Results
- 1 September 2013 Joined Arundel Breakfast Club - U.S. Masters Swimming - for practice openwater swims in rivers near the Chesapeake Bay.
- 8 September 2013 BREAKOWT Seminar w/ Michael Phelps Swim School
- 24 October 2013 Joined the Open Water Swim Club
- 8 June 2014 swim angel guide for blind untethered swimmer Mark Rew, the first ever blind swimmer to complete the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - One Mile Bay Challenge. Time 47:10, Bib# 1510. Results
- 30 May 2015 3rd Annual Oxford-Bellevue Sharkfest Swim, Oxford, MD along a historical ferry route on Maryland's beautiful Eastern Shore. Completed the first all butterfly in this event at 1500 M in 42:33 with a headwind (swimmer #51). Results
- 14 June 2015 Swim angel guide for blind untethered swimmer Mark Rew in Great Chesapeake Bay Swim - One Mile Bay Challenge. Beat Mark's prior time by almost NINE MINUTES! Training was shakedown Severn River swims with Arundel Breakfast Club and weekly pool swims for the past year. Results
- July 2015 Traveled to Wisconsin, USA for a multi-mile butterfly non-event training swim in Grays Lake Illinois with "Mr. Butterfly" Dan Projansky.
- May 2016 Passed certification test for Open Water Coaches Education Program from WOWSA.
- 24 September 2016 Swim angel guide for blind untethered swimmer Mark Rew in 3K "Swim for the Potomac" environmental fundraiser event by WaveOne Swimming. 1:27:21 results Story
- 9 June 2018 Terry Laughlin Celebration Swim at Lake Minnewaska, New York. 2.25 miles butterfly in 67 degree water, no wetsuit. Remembering Terry Laughlin Memorial Swim; Memorial Swim Held at Minnewaska for Total Immersion Swimming founder Terry Laughlin. The first of his three butterfly laps of the lake was swum with Total Immersion Master Coach Shane Eversfield who also swam all butterfly.
- Description of open water butterfly swimming
- A history of the development of Butterfly
- President's Challenge Article Featuring Suddeth as an Inspiration
- Presidential Champions PLATINUM Award Winner 2015
- More about Butterfly swimming
- Athlinks tracking a few of my swims. Not complete or accurate
- Another Athlinks link showing I did the GCBS in 2012 in both wetsuit and non-wetsuit. It was non.
- Comments from 2011 mile swim reference me, and I reply in comments
- The 6 Struggles of Being a Butterflyer
- Great Chesapeake Bay Swim
- Suddeth LinkedIn Bio
- Database Security research paper by Suddeth
- 2011 GCBS 1-Mile Butterfly Time - Suddeth 42:46 (first person to butterfly this event)
- 2012 GCBS 4.4 Mile Non-Wetsuit Finishers
- 2012 GCBS 4.4-Mile Time - Suddeth 3:11:47 non-wetsuit
- 2012 Centennial Lake 1-Mile Swim - Suddeth 33:04 non-wetsuit freestyle
- 2012 Jim McDonnell Lake 5K Swim - Suddeth 1:58:15 non-wetsuit mixed stroke
- Orlando Sentinel article about two mile swim flyers in Reston, VA - Charlie Tupitza & Larry Paulson 6/12/2013
- 2013 GCBS 1-Mile Butterfly Time - Suddeth 43:00 non-wetwuit (2nd butterfly ever in this event)
- 2014 1-Mile GCBS Time Suddeth/Rew 47:10
- Open Water Swimming website
- Abs Revealed Deleted Scene - "Be the Ball" Exercise from Sport Fit with Jonathan Ross
- Bowie & Crofton Open Water Swimmers In Chesapeake Bay Swim 2013
- Arundel Breakfast Club Swimming (Facebook site)
- About BreakOWT
- Participant in postal butterfly distance swims
- Sport Fit - Bowie, MD
- News story on Mark Rew's unprecedented 2014 swim
- News story on Mark Rew's 2015 plans to repeat his GCBS Mile swim
- Story of Mark's completion of a 3K in 2016 with Suddeth's guidance
- World Open Water Swimming Association
- Marathon Swimmers Forum
- CDifferent - Blind Athlete and sighted guide connection
- Challenged Athletes Foundation
- Race results for Suddeth & Rew in GCBS One-Mile Challenge 2014 (last, but finished!)
- Arundle Breakfast Club Swimming on Facebook
- Sylvain Estadieu on swimming fly in the English Channel
- Historic Oxford-Belellevue Ferry - Established 1683 - America's Oldest Privately owned Ferry Route
- Oxford-Bellevue Sharkfest Swim 2015
- Craig Dietz to attempt GCBS - Video from 2011 when I did Mile Fly
- Craig Dietz completes GCBS in 2012 - same year I crossed
- "Ask Any" page for questions about Open Water Butterfly Swimmers
- "Ask Any" page for questions about Coaching Blind Open Swimmers
- Openwaterpedia popular pages
Total Immersion Swimming Links
- Total Immersion Swimming website
- Tim Ferris Introduces The World's Best Teachers - DNoOWS - Includes Terry Laughlin
- Terry Laughlin blog on butterfly
- Total Immersion Forum Thread about first Open Water Butterfly mile
- A Total Immersion forum discussion on the challenges in teaching and being a blind swimmer
- New York Open Water article includes list of swimmers at the Terry Laughlin Celebration Swim in 2018 where Suddeth Butterflyed 3 lake laps.
- NY Open Water link for Terry Laughlin swim
- Terry Laughlin Celebration Swim 2018
Daily News of Open Water Swimming References
- Brian Suddeth Flies In Oxford-Bellevue Sharkfest Swim
- Brian Suddeth Coaches Mark Rew, Deena Lambert
- Brian Suddeth Completes The Great Chesapeake Fly Swim - DNoOWS Article on GCBS 1st Mile Fly swim
- Butterfly Swim Rules In The Open Water
- BreakOWT Seminar w/ Michael Phelps Swimming
- List Of Butterfly Swims In The Open Water - Speed Comparisons
- Things Open Water Swimmers Never Say
- Do Masters Rules Rule Or What In Open Water Butterfly?
- The Toughest, Gnarliest Open Water Swimmers Around
- Personality Traits And Astrology Of Swimmers (Butterflyers)
- Decisions on Open Water Butterfly
- Dan Projansky, 100 Times Or More Butterfly
- Brian Suddeth Has An Eye For Fitness
- Mark Rew, Open Water Swimmer Through And Through
- Flat Abs, Fitness And Fly
- Tiger Twins Take Two
- Mark Rew Sees Success - DNoOWS
- No Excuses In The Open Water
- Butterfly Can Be Brutal - DNoOWS
- What Is The World's Most Difficult Sports Move?
- Brutal ... Butterfly In The Open Water
- Things Open Water Swimming Never Say
- What Is The World’s Most Difficult Sports Move?
- Open Water Swimming
- John Batchelder Flys Through The Open Water
- Craig Dietz discussing overcoming challenges during the Chesapeake Bay Swim we shared in 2012