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First and foremost, this analysis was based off a streaming video, since the race is not downloaded yet [as far as I know], so some hand times were used [which  has inherent errors]. 

For new comers to the website, we have done numerous race and world record analyses, which are purely meant for enjoyment and discussion. This analysis breaks down Nick Thoman’s 44.07 100 yard backstroke race (almost a 0.5 second drop from the previous 100 yard record). Check out our previous WR Analysis: Men’s 100 back.

History of 100 – Yard Men Backstroke Record

In 1997, Neil Walker set the bar high with a blazing split under 45 seconds at 44.92. This amazing record stood for nine years, until the great Ryan Lochte broke the record with a 44.60 leading off the Florida University 400 medley relay. In the 2010 NCAA championships, Eugene Godsoe went a 44.93 in a textile suit and briefly slower than Walker’s 44.92. The next 100 yard back contender was Albert Subritas, but no one touched the record until 2012 when Matt Grevers went a 44.55. A few weeks back Nick Thoman (and Matt Grevers) broke the record, lowering the mark quite a bit, to an astounding 44.07! Click here for a more detailed history by one of the greats, Josh Davis.

Nick Thoman 100 Back SCY – 44.07 seconds

Nick Thoman put together a historic race in this 100 back (click here for the video). When looking at the statistics, the most impressive aspect of this swim is Nick’s consistency. He is able to go ~15-m off each wall and reach the 15-m mark no slower than 6.76 seconds! His lap 25 was only ~0.4 seconds slower to the 15-m mark than his second 25! 

First 25

Nick had a great start and performed double leg kicking (dolphin kicking) to the 15-m mark in 5.73 seconds. He took six strokes from the 15-m mark to the wall and had a distance per stroke of 1.43 strokes/meter with an accompanying stroke rate of 1.30 stokes/second. 


Second 25

On the second 25, Thoman performed double leg kicking and took one stroke into the 15-m mark in 6.37 seconds. This was at a velocity of 2.3 m/s. His time into the wall was 4.89 s and once again took 6 strokes, giving him the same distance per stroke while his stroke rate increased to 1.35 strokes/second.

Third 25

On the third lap, Thoman took 6.64 seconds to get to the 15-m mark and once again only took one stoke. Once again, he took 6 strokes into the wall (giving him the same distance per stroke) and once again increasing his stroke rate to 1.43 strokes/second.

Fourth 25

This is the wall where Thoman really put the hammer down against Grevers (who was next to him). He once again only took one stroke to the 15-m mark and get to this point in about 6.76 seconds! Into the wall, Thoman charged hard, increasing his stroke rate and count (up to 7 strokes on this lap). This allowed him to have his second fastest lap on the last lap! 

Conclusions on Nick Thoman’s 44.07 100 Yard Back

Consistency! Nick’s 2nd – 4th laps were extremely consistent, especially his dolphin kicking and breakout distance. In a stroke where double leg kicking is most utilized, it is amazing to see it finally being perfected over an entire race! Once again, double leg kicking is likely the fastest “stroke”, so it should be utilized as much as possible! 

G. John Mullen received his Doctorate in Physical at University of Southern California (USC) and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). At USC, he was a clinical research assistant performing research on adolescent diabetes, lung adaptations to swimming, and swimming biomechanics. G. John has been featured in Swimming World Magazine, Swimmer Magazine, and the International Society of Swim Coaches Journal. He is currently the owner of COR, providing Physical Therapy, Personal Training, and Swim Lessons to swimmers and athletes of all skills and ages. He is also the creator of the Swimmer’s Shoulder SystemSwimming ScienceSwimming Science Research Review, and the Swimming Troubleshooting System.
Dr. John Mullen, DPT, CSCS world-renowned physical therapist and strength coach.
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