Swim Sci

Swim Sci


Stats Saturday: London Olympics 100 LCM Free Finals

The 100 Free at the London Olympics was an amazing race, as American Nathan Adrian upset the heavy favorite James Magnussen. 

Prior to the race, it was well established James Magnussen was better at even splitting his race, allowing him to finish faster than Mr. Adrian. From the 50-meter splits, it seems this was the case once again, but the data and the results indicate otherwise.

Adrian splits:
50 m22.64322.64

Magnussen splits:
50 m22.83522.83

Race Analysis

First 15 Meters
Adrian got off to a great start and it he was clearly ahead of Magnussen after the first 15 meters, in fact, he was already 0.2 seconds ahead. After 15 meters, both athletes have taken the same amount of stroke, 4.

0 - 25 Meters
At the 25 meter mark, Adrian slightly extended his lead above 0.2 seconds, but Magnussen took one less stroke, perhaps preserving energy for his storied finishing speed. 

25 - 50 Meters
At the 50 meter mark, Adrian slightly lost his lead, as James gained a few hundredths of a second into the wall. At the turn, Adrian was 0.19 seconds ahead of James, but James had taken a total of four less strokes in the first 50 meters!

50 - 75 Meters
Coming off the turn, James continued to transfer his faster velocity into the turn and brought the two swimmers even at the 65 meter mark. Then, the two athletes remained even to the 75-meter mark. However, both of these swimmers took the same amount of strokes in these 25-meters.

75 - 100 Meters
Being practically even as they entered the last 25-meters, made for an exciting finish. These two swimmers went nearly the same time on this lap, but it was done much differently. Specifically, Adrian went 0.10 faster on the last 15 meters, where Magnussum went 0.09 seconds faster from 75 - 85 meters! Both maintained the same stroke count over this distance.


Unlike past races, Adrian was able to maintain his velocity, compared to either swimming overly fatiguing. The amount of strokes of Adrian in his other races should be studied to determine if this is significant.

Magnussum took more strokes on his third 25 than his faster races. This reviewer feels this was due to the swimmer not staying to his game plan. These extra strokes likely caused excess fatigue, preventing him from his normal superior finish.

The race seemed to be won on the start and finish for Adrian. His finish used his straight arm or body driven stroke into the wall. This appeared successful for this athlete, allowing him to maintain his stroke length.

Magnussum had a great turn, as he accelerated in and out of the wall. Unfortunately, it seems he got off his race strategy, taking too many strokes on the third 25, and increasing his fatigue.

Interested in having your stroke analyzed, sign-up for the Swimming Science Stroke Analysis.

By G. John Mullen founder of the Center of Optimal Restoration, head strength coach at Santa Clara Swim Club, creator of the Swimmer's Shoulder System, and chief editor of the Swimming Science Research Review.

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