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.

Sun Yang 1500 Swimming Stroke Analysis London 2012

Swimming biomechanics highly influence swimming success. Sun Yang 1500 swimming stroke analysis London 2012 hopes to provide a frame by frame analysis of the current top male distance swimmer. As you will see, some of the mechanics Yang uses are far superior to other swimmers, however he still has some deviations. Moreover, he demonstrates a few nuances uncommon, but potentially progressive for the stroke.

If you enjoyed this review and wish to have your stroke analyzed by the Swimming Science team, purchase a Swimming Science Stroke Analysis today! If you purchase one before September 20th you will receive a complimentary 6 month subscription to the Swimming Science Research Review!
Number of Strokes

Frame 1 (Corresponding Pictures below):
Pushes off wall with streamline slightly separated from ears. Head is down facing floor of pool. Little to no flutter kick is occurring during this frame.

Frame 2:

Initiates pull with right arm. Head position remains in same position as frame 1, and kick still appears to be minimal.

Frame 3:
Initiation of pull continues (note the absent of any white bubbles or turbulence with this hand). Both arms begins to abduct (come apart) from the head.  Head remains fixed. Right hip flexion and knee flexion while the left hip appears to extend.

Frame 4:
High elbow on right arm continues to be more pronounced with an increased in shoulder internal rotation. Right arm appears to begin flexing to help achieve an early vertical forearm. Left arm abducts slight more. Head begins to lift through an apparent cervical extension. Right leg kicks through to finish kick and left leg remains in slight extension.

Frame 5:
Right shoulder internally rotates more as the wrist returns to neutral, early vertical forearm is achieved. Left arms abducts even more. Head appears to extend more. Legs appear unchanged, while the right ankle appears to slightly dorsiflex to return to streamline.

Frame 6:
Right shoulder extension begins for the catch, while the arm remains fixed in internal rotation. Left arms abducts even more and is now in full shoulder and elbow extension. Head extends and rotates right. Left hip extends more in preparation for a downkick.

Frame 7:
Right shoulder comes under the body with the shoulder fixed in internal rotation with the wrist in extension. The left arms appears unchanged. The head rotates and extends more.  The body initiates right rotation. The left leg rises, from what appears knee flexion.

Frame 8:
Right shoulder continues catch as the arm adducts, now approximately 45 degree abduction. Left arms remains fixed. Head appears to only rotate more. The body continues to increase right rotation. Right leg appears to undergo slight hip extension. Left leg has large amount of knee flexion, to what appears bring the foot through the surface of the water.

Frame 9:
Right arm adducts more as the hand passes the hip. The left arms is still fixed (potentially elongating via spinal rotation). The head extends and rotates, noticeable turbulence is present on right shoulder in this frame due to this swimmer's breathing biomechanics. The body rotates more right. Right leg continues to extend through the hip, while the leg knee undergoes hip flexion and knee extension (downkick).

Frame 10:
Right arm is out of view, but appears to have initiated recovery. The left arm remains still. The head is at it's most rotated and extended position, resulting in the largest amount of visible turbulence on the upper right side of the body. The body is in maximal right rotation (maximizing left arm elongation). The right continues to perform an upkick (knee flexion initiating), while the left is performing a strong downkick predominantly through knee extension.

Frame 11:
Right arm likely continues recovery, while the left arm is still fixed. The head begins to rotate left and flex to return to the water. Note the large turbulence during this phase. The body lowers in the water as it rotates left. The right leg continues it's upkick through increased knee flexion. The left leg finishes it's downkick with pronounced knee extension (note the athlete's dorsiflexed ankle, far from the 'typical' swimmer's body).

Frame 12:
Right arm likely continuing recovery, as the left arms remains fixed while the left wrist flexes to initiate the pull. Head continues to rotate left, to return to streamline. No apparent body rotation. Right leg likely is initiating downkick,  through hip flexion and knee extension. Left leg begins upkick through hip extension.

Frame 13:
Right arm likely continuing recovery, left arm begins to press down (likely through glenohumeral (shoulder) internal rotation) as the wrist appears to flex slightly more. Head likely continues left cervical rotation, no cervical flexion appears present in this frame. The right leg continuing the downkick through knee extesion. The left knee continues to upkick with large knee flexion.

Frame 14:
Right arm likely recovering, left arm continues internal rotation as the wrist returns to neutral. Head likely continuing left cervical rotation. Right leg  is finishing the downkick with knee extension as the left leg finishes the upkick with knee flexion.

Frame 15:
Right arm enters the water above head visible turbulence during this re-entry. Left arm undergoes more internal rotation to achieve early vertical forearm. Head continues to rotate left (currently near neutral position), cervical extension persists. Body rotates left and slightly drops. Right leg likely initiating upkick. Left leg is performing downkick with knee extension.

Frame 16:
Right arm extends forward with minimal turbulence, left arm performs adduction to catch water. Head and body rotate left. Right leg undergoes knee flexion for upkick and left leg finishes downkick through knee extension.

Frame 17:
Right arm extends (likely from left body rotation). Left arm continues to catch water with a high elbow as arm during adduction. Head rotates left and extends. Body rotates left. Right leg begins downkick through knee extension while the left hip extends for the initiation of the upkick.

Frame 18:
Right arm continues to extend as the left arm undergoes shoulder extends to finish the catch. The head and body rotate left. The right knee kicks down through knee extension. The left knee begins knee flexion.

Frame 19:
Right arms remains fixed. Left arm undergoes recovery. Head maintains cervical left rotation and extension (note large frontal turbulence at the head). Body begins rotation right. Left leg performs knee extension for downkick and right knee flexes to finish upkick.

Frame 20:
Right arms presses down (likely from body dropping due to recovery arm) and wrist slightly flexes. Left arm continues to recover. Head remains fixed as turbulence remains high. Body continues to rotate right. The right leg finishes downkick with ankle dorsiflexion while the left leg initiates down kick with slight hip flexion.

Frame 21:
Right arm continues to press down, now likely due to recovery arm and initiation of shoulder internal rotation. Left arm continues recovery. Head begins rotation right with continued frontal turbulence. Body has slight rotation right. Right hip extends. Left knee extends.

Frame 22:
Right continues to lower beginning catch. Right arm still recovering. Head performs more rotation right. Body rotation appears constant. Right upkick continues and left downkick finishes.

Frame 23:
Right arm internally rotates for the catch phase, left arm re-enters water with minimal turbulence at left hand. Head rotates right and flexes. Body rotates right. Right hip flexes for downkick and left hip extends.

Frame 24:
Right arm maintains internal rotation and begins to adduct. Right arm continues to re-enter water with turbulence visible at elbow and upper arm. Head rotates right and slightly extends. Body rotates right. Right knee extends and the left hip extends.

Frame 25:
Right arm continues to adduct and wrist appears to have slight extended, potentially finishing the catch phase too early. Left arm continues to extend forward, while the head rotates right and extends. Body continues to rotate right. Right leg begins upkick with hip extension as the left leg undergoes knee flexion.

Frame 26:
Right arms returns to a straight forearm to finish the catch. Left arm continues to extend (via right body rotation). Head and body continue right rotation. The right leg continues to perform slight hip extension. The right hip flexes to initiate the downkick.

Frame 27:
The right arm finishes the catch through adduction and extension. The left arms continues to achieve relative extension via right body rotation. The head rotates right and extends. The body rotates right. The right leg performs knee flexion while the left knee undergoes knee extension.

Notable features: 
Streamlined body throughout the stroke. Minimal turbulence upon hand re-entry. turbulence around head and shoulder during poor breathing mechanics. One of the best EVF, especially on the left side. Streamlined body balance through matched contralateral down kick and hand re-entry. Streamlined head position when the athlete is not breathing.

He clearly uses a high elbow anchor position on his left arm. This allows him an elongated distance per stroke and endurance capability. His right arm uses a little lower elbow anchor position, potentially helping him utilizes his hips more. Unfortunately, this angle prevents the reviewer from seeing the distance the arm is from the bodyline.

Areas to improve:
·         Breathing mechanics, remove cervical extension during breath
·         Ankle dorsiflexion during upkick, as this likely increases turbulence in the water [not sure if this feature facilities the rest of the downkick]

Areas to copy:
·         Streamline of body (except during breathing)
·         Early vertical catch, especially on left
·         Body balance between hand re-entry and downkick

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If you enjoyed this piece, considering reviewing Dr. Rushall's "How Champions Do It!"

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.

Swimming Science Stroke Analysis

Stroke technique plays a significant role in swimming success. Unfortunately, many swimmers do not have the resources for optimal feedback, to adjust their stroke and make improvements. The Swimming Science Stroke Analysis provides a whole stroke analysis broken down per frame, providing feedback, finding where each swimmer is having signs of increased drag or poor force production.

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Number of Strokes