2017 Golden Goggles: Who Deserves to Win Each Award?

Photo Courtesy: Annie Grevers

By David Rieder.

The last time the Golden Goggles award show was held in Los Angeles, there was not all that much to celebrate aside from Katie Ledecky. The Americans had won just eight golds and 23 total medals at the 2015 World Championships, and Ledecky had been responsible for five of the eight golds.

This year, different story. American swimmers won a record-tying 38 total medals at the World Championships in Budapest, 18 of them gold. That made the voting standard for this year’s awards rather competitive.

Consider this: American teams won gold in seven out of eight relays in Budapest, including mixed events. There were five nominees for “Relay of the Year,” as opposed to the usual three.

Plenty of outstanding performances will get their due Sunday evening at the JW Marriott at LA Live—but who wins the awards? Here’s what we were thinking.

The nominees for each award are listed, with our choice for winner labeled in red.

Breakout Performer of the Year


Photo Courtesy: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Mallory Comerford
Madisyn Cox
Bethany Galat
Townley Haas

Some good nominees here, but the choice seems pretty clear-cut.

Haas picked up his first international medal in an individual event this year, taking silver in the 200 free at Worlds, and he also turned himself into a key piece for the American men’s 400 free relay.

Cox and Galat both bounced back from near-misses at Olympic Trials to secure their spots on the team at U.S. Nationals—and then win surprising individual medals at World Championships. Cox was the bronze medalist in the 200 IM and Galat the runner-up in the 200 breast.

But how can this not go to Comerford? In 2017, she transformed herself from a semi-finalist in two events at Olympic Trials, seemingly a short course specialist, to one of the country’s top freestylers. She won five relay gold medals at Worlds—and provided key legs on the finals squads for four of those relays—while also finishing fourth in the 100 free. Comerford finished the year ranked No. 3 globally in the 100 free and No. 19 in the 200 free.

And it’s impossible to forget her effort at the NCAA championships, when she tied Katie Ledecky for a shocking national title in the 200 free.

With all due respect to the other three nominees, this award should belong to Comerford.

Perseverance Award


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Elizabeth Beisel
Matt Grevers
Ashley Twichell

Twichell missed the Olympic team in 2016 and bounced back well enough to win the World title in the 5k at this year’s World Championships. The medal marked her first at a World Championships since 2011. But after the way Grevers bounced back this year, he gets our vote.

Devastated when he did not make the Olympic team, Grevers admitted that his career may very well have been over had he not made this year’s World Championships team. At 32 years old, Grevers doubted his own ability to bounce back after a third-place finish in his signature 100 back at Olympic Trials, his first major setback in six years.

Good thing he kept going because he very nearly won gold in the 100 back in Budapest. He ended up settling for a silver, but his time of 52.48 was his fastest in five years. He was a team captain on the Worlds team and also a contributor to golds in both the men’s and mixed medley relays.

When Grevers made the World Championships team on the fourth night of U.S. Nationals, it was clear how excited his teammates were to have him back on the plane with them to Budapest. But nothing can quite match up for how much it meant to Grevers, the winner of four Olympic gold medals in his career, to be back.

Coach of the Year


Photo Courtesy: Swimming World

Jack Bauerle
Ray Looze
Greg Meehan
Gregg Troy

This one made for some interesting debate among Swimming World staff—Looze, Troy or Meehan?

Looze has Lilly King, the world’s dominant female breaststroker, plus two others who made this year’s Worlds team in Blake Pieroni, Cody Miller and Zane Grothe. And Looze has also turned the Indiana Hoosiers into perennial contenders in the college scene.

Troy led the Gators to a third-place finish at the men’s NCAA championships this year, but he’s nominated for the award for his impressive work with Caeleb Dressel—who, of course, won seven gold medals at the World Championships.

And Meehan led the Stanford women to an NCAA title this year and currently coaches Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, Lia Neal, Ella Eastin… and plenty of others.

In the toughest call on the list, our vote goes to Meehan.

Relay of the Year

Women’s 400 Freestyle Relay, 2017 FINA World Championships
Men’s 400 Freestyle Relay, 2017 FINA World Championships
Women’s 400 Medley Relay, 2017 FINA World Championships
Mixed 400 Freestyle Relay, 2017 FINA World Championships
Mixed 400 Medley Relay, 2017 FINA World Championships

fina world championships, kathleen-baker-lilly-king-kelsi-worrell-simone-manuel-usa-champions-4x100-relay-2017-world-champs

Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

All of the nominated relays won World titles this year, and three of them set world records. But records in single-gender relays carry more weight than those in the recently-conceived mixed events.

And the foursome of Kathleen Baker, Lilly King, Kelsi Worrell and Simone Manuel broke a vaunted five-year-old record in the women’s 400 medley.

The previous mark had been set at the London Olympics, by an American team consisting of Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Vollmer and Allison Schmitt. All four of those women had won individual gold medals in the 100 or 200-meter event of their respective stroke at those Olympics.

In Rio, the team of Baker, King, Vollmer and Manuel had been a full second short of the world record. In a year, the three returners all swam at least a half-second faster each, while Worrell (56.30) split only three tenths off what Vollmer (56.00) had posted at the Olympics.

Oh, and the margin of victory was almost two seconds, the largest in a single-gender relay all week.

Female Performance of the Year

Lilly King, 50 Breast, 2017 FINA World Championships
Lilly King, 100 Breast, 2017 FINA World Championships
Katie Ledecky, 400 Free, 2017 FINA World Championships
Simone Manuel, 100 Free, 2017 FINA World Championships
Ashley Twichell, 5K Open Water, 2017 FINA World Championships


Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

Of these five World title-winning performances, the nod goes to King here for the 100 breast. Sure, it was the only one of the five races that featured a world record in an Olympic event, but there’s more to consider.

King was an underdog here for the first time in her brief international career. Sure, she had gotten the better of Yulia Efimova in the 100 breast final in Rio, but Efimova had made big improvements and had missed the world record by just one hundredth in the semi-finals.

But in the final, Efimova froze on the blocks and spent the first 50 trying to catch up. It was too late. King, as she so often does, stepped up with the pressure on and delivered the best swim of her life. In 1:04.13, she crushed Ruta Meilutyte’s four-year-old world record and continued her unbeaten streak against her Russian rival in the sprint events.

Male Performance of the Year

Caeleb Dressel, 100 Free, 2017 FINA World Championships
Caeleb Dressel, 100 Fly, 2017 FINA World Championships
Chase Kalisz, 400 IM, 2017 FINA World Championships


Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

No records to choose from in the male performance category, but Dressel came pretty darn close with his 49.86 in the 100 fly. The record in that event stands at 49.82, set by Michael Phelps back at the 2009 World Championships in a dual with Milorad Cavic.

At the height of the polyurethane suit controversy, Phelps was swimming in a now-banned full bodysuit, even if it was not the most advanced option on the market at the time. Dressel swam his race in a jammer, and he won by almost a second.

Joseph Schooling, the Olympic gold medalist in the event from one year earlier, was completely left in Dressel’s wake.

As dominant as he was in the 100 free two days earlier and as dominant as Kalisz was in the 400 IM one day later, Dressel’s 100 fly is the obvious choice here.

Female Athlete of the Year


Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

Lilly King
Katie Ledecky
Simone Manuel

Does this award go to the swimmer with the sensational efforts or the one who was superior in a larger range of events? In other words, King or Ledecky?

King broke world records this year in the 50 and 100 breast but was only fourth at the World Championships in the 200 breast, while Ledecky won golds in the 400, 800 and 1500 free at Worlds, along with a silver in the 200 free.

No, Ledecky didn’t break any world records in 2017, and her margins of victory were slightly smaller—but she’s still the best American swimmer out there and on a short list of the two or three best swimmers in the world.

And that’s just considering her freestyle. Ledecky broke an American record in the 400-yard IM this year and had the top in-season time of any American in the long course version of that race heading into U.S. Nationals. She’s built her chops as a freestyle specialist, but she’s no one-trick pony. When determining all-around best athlete, range should be important, too.

Male Athlete of the Year


Photo Courtesy: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Caeleb Dressel
Chase Kalisz

Kalisz was great at Worlds, winning gold medals in both IMs, but this is a slam dunk.

Dressel won seven gold medals in Budapest, matching the all-time record set by—you guessed it—Michael Phelps.

Only counting individual events? Well, Dressel was the only man to win three gold medals at Worlds.

He also won big in all three of his individual events at the NCAA championships in March, and he established the fastest time in history in both the 100-yard fly and 100-yard free. This one should be unanimous.

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China Remains Dominant After 2017 FINA Diving Grand Prix

Photo Courtesy: David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports

With yet another very successful edition of the FINA Diving Grand Prix, the competition concluded on Sunday in Gold Coast, Australia, as Malaysia diving ace Pandelela Rinong Pamg broke China’s dominance in the individual events by grabbing gold in the platform event (with 319.40 points).

After eight legs in Rostock (GER), Gatineau (CAN), San Juan (PUR), Madrid (ESP), Bolzano (ITA), Kuala Lumpur (MAS), Singapore (SGP) and Gold Coast (AUS) stretching from February to November 2017, China has clinched a grand total of 27 gold, 12 silver and 5 bronze medals making it the most successful nation of the circuit, while Korea is behind with 8 golds, 3 silver and 6 bronze medals.

Armenia, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Colombia, DPR Korea, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine and the U.S. were the other nations stepping at least once on the podium this year, making this competition truly universal with success shared across four continents.

Details results for each leg can be found on FINA website and press releases can be read here.

Photos of the FINA Diving Grand Prix 2017 are available here.

Four hosts are already confirmed for the 2018 edition: Rostock (GER) will welcome the event from February 23-25, Calgary (CAN) from May 10-13, Bolzano (ITA) from July 6-7 and Madrid from July 13-15. Four more cities will be announced at a later stage.

Press release courtesy of FINA.

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University Of Michigan Adds 10 For 2018-19 Season

Photo Courtesy: Michigan Athletics

The University of Michigan men’s swimming and diving team announced Monday (Nov. 13) the signing of seven individuals to National Letters of Intent for the 2018-19 season. The signees include swimmers Andrew Babyak (Bronxville, New York), AJ Bornstein (Ridgefield, Connecticut), Patrick Callan (Owasso, Oklahoma), Will Chan (Davidson, North Carolina), David Cleason (Ann Arbor, Michigan), Michael MacGillivray (Ann Arbor, Michigan) and Ian Miskelley (Holland, Michigan).

“What excites us most about this class is that we have a group of guys who love Michigan and want to be a part of our team,” said head coach Mike Bottom. “We’re losing some valuable seniors, but this class coming in will give us ample firepower to replace them.”

Andrew Babyak

Distance Freestyle | Bronxville, N.Y. (Bronxville High School/Badger Swim Club)

Babyak is relatively new to swimming having spent the first two years of high school playing varsity lacrosse. In the pool, he was New York State Public High School and Federation champion in the 500-yard freestyle and anchored the team’s winning 400-yard freestyle relay. At last spring’s Speedo Sectionals at Ithaca, he won both the 500-yard freestyle and 1,650-yard freestyle. He is a two-time NISCA All-American and USA Swimming Scholastic All-American.

Top Times (SCY): 500 FR (4:26.26), 1,650 FR (15:26.79)

AJ Bornstein

Breaststroke | Ridgefield, Conn. (Ridgefield High School/Ridgefield Aquatic Club)

Bornstein, a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American and NISCA All-American, was runner-up in the 100-yard breaststroke and took fourth in the 200-yard individual medley at the CIAC State Open Boys Swimming & Diving Meet. At the 2017 Summer Junior National Championships, he took second in the 200-meter breaststroke and ninth in the 100-meter breaststroke.

Top Times (SCY): 100 BR (55.99), 200 BR (1:58.68), 200 IM (1:54.09), 400 IM (3:57.94)

Patrick Callan

Freestyle | Owasso, Okla. (Bishop Kelley High School/Trident Aquatics Club)

Callan is a member of the 2017-18 U.S. Junior National Team in the 200-meter freestyle and finished fourth in that event at the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships. At the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championships, Callan was 10th in the 400-meter freestyle and 15th in the 200-meter freestyle. He also holds five OSSAA Class 5A records (200 FR, 500 FR, 100 FL, 200 IM, 400 Free Relay).

Top Times (SCY): 100 FR (44.50), 200 FR (1:34.06), 500 FR (4:14.66)

Will Chan

Freestyle/Breaststroke | Davidson, N.C. (William A. Hough High School/SwimMAC Carolina)

Chan is the North Carolina state record-holder in the 100-yard breaststroke, winning the state title in 2017. He was also runner-up in the 200-yard IM and swam the breaststroke leg on William A. Hough’s winning 200-yard medley relay team. With SwimMAC Carolina, Chan took sixth in the 50-meter freestyle, eighth in the 100-meter breaststroke and 15th in the 200-meter IM at the 2017 Speedo Junior National Championships.

Top Times (SCY): 50 FR (20.14), 100 BR (53.78), 200 BR (1:58.93), 200 IM (1:48.91)

David Cleason

Butterfly/Freestyle | Ann Arbor, Mich. (Skyline High School/Club Wolverine)

The Wolverines add another member of the Cleason family, as David will join sister Emma Cleason, a freshman on the women’s team this year. David was runner-up at the 2017 MHSAA D-I State Championships in both the 200-yard IM and 500-yard freestyle. Competing for Club Wolverine, he swam five events at the 2017 NCSA Summer Championships, finishing as high as 10th in the 400-meter IM.

Top Times (SCY): 200 FR (1:44.35), 500 FR (4:34.09), 100 FL (51.57), 200 FL (1:52.92), 200 IM (1:50.18), 400 IM (4:05.05)

Michael MacGillivray

Breaststroke | Ann Arbor, Mich. (Skyline High School/Club Wolverine)

Another Ann Arbor native from Club Wolverine, MacGillivray helped Skyline High School win the 2017 MHSAA Boys D-I state title, finishing fourth in the 200-yard IM and 100-yard breaststroke. In long course, he finished second in the 200-meter breaststroke and 12th in the 100-meter breaststroke at the 2017 NCSA Summer Championships. He also played two years of water polo.

Top Times (SCY): 100 BR (57.12), 200 BR (2:01.98), 200 IM (1:51.50)

Ian Miskelley

Breaststroke/IM | Holland, Mich. (Holland Christian High School/Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics)

Miskelley comes to Ann Arbor from the west side of the state, training year-round with Michigan Lakeshore Aquatics. Though he does not swim for his high school team, Miskelley has notched big time-drops across the board. He finished third in a trio of events at the 2016 Michigan LSC Championships and had two runner-up finishes at the 2017 Speedo Sectionals – Indianapolis meet.

Top Times (SCY): 100 BK (51.34), 200 BK (1:50.24), 100 FL (48.90), 200 IM (1:50.76), 400 IM (3:56.31)


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan women’s swimming and diving team announced on Tuesday (Nov. 14) the signing of three individuals to National Letters of Intent for the 2018-19 season. The signees include Victoria Kwan (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada), Maggie MacNeil (London, Ontario, Canada) and Katie Minnich (Royal Oak, Mich.).

“These three swimmers will be joining a very strong team,” said head coach Mike Bottom. “We have some seniors we’re going to miss, but our juniors and sophomores will move up and this group of freshmen will fit in nicely with our culture. We’re excited to bring them aboard.”

Victoria Kwan

Butterfly/IM | Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada (Bill Krothers Secondary/Markham Aquatic Club)

Kwan represented Canada at the 2017 FINA World Junior Championships, finishing seventh in the 200-meter butterfly, 12th in the 400-meter IM and 19th in the 400-meter freestyle. At last spring’s Team Canada Trials, she took third in the 200-meter butterfly and eighth in the 200-meter IM.

Top Times (SCY/LCM): 100 FL (53.75/1:01.07), 200 FL (1:56.82/2:12.48), 200 IM (2:01.75/2:18.35), 400 IM (4:15.32/4:49.81)

Maggie MacNeil

Freestyle/Butterfly | London, Ontario, Canada (Sir Frederick Banting Secondary/London Aquatic Club)

Like Kwan, MacNeil is one of Canada’s brightest young swimmers, representing her country at the 2015 FINA Junior World Championships and 2016 Junior Pan Pacific Championships. She finished sixth in the 100-meter butterfly at the 2016 Canadian Olympic Trials. At the high school level, MacNeil won three gold medals in last spring’s Ontario High School Championships.

Top Times (SCY/LCM): 50 FR (23.16/26.51), 100 FR (49.50/56.55), 100 FL (52.37/59.54)

Katie Minnich

Backstroke | Royal Oak, Mich. (Mercy High School/Birmingham Blue Dolphins)

Minnich is a three-time defending MHSAA Division I state champion in the 100-yard backstroke, becoming the first woman to break 54 seconds. She also took sixth in the 200-yard IM at last year’s meet and swam legs on Mercy’s 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay. She is a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American and NISCA All-American.

Top Times (SCY): 100 BK (53.99), 200 BK (1:56.95), 200 IM (2:04.35)

Press release courtesy of University of Michigan Athletics. 

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Division III Weekly Preview: Kenyon and Chicago Head to Fall Invites

Photo Courtesy: Kenyon College Athletics/Martin Fuller

It is officially invite season, but a majority of the best teams in Division III swimming will be taking this coming weekend off as they instead race after Thanksgiving. The new CSCAA Division III poll also came out on Wednesday and all the teams are receiving fresh new rankings with Emory women and Denison men sitting at the top.

There was not a lot of moving around in the new CSCAA poll as the biggest jump came from the Carnegie Mellon women from 14 to 8 and the Pomona Pitzer men from 20 to 10. Carthage also had a big jump going from 22 to 14 in the poll.

Only two of the teams currently ranked in the top ten will be swimming in invitationals this weekend. (#3/2) Kenyon will be staying in-state with the Ohio State Invite in Columbus where they will be the only Division III team in attendance alongside NC State, Notre Dame and Ohio State among others. The majority of Division III will be keeping their eyes peeled at what happens in Columbus. Kenyon is coming off a split with Denison, where the women came away with a win.

(#8/7) Chicago is the only other top ten team in an invite this weekend as they are hosting the Phoenix Fall Classic. They are favored to win ahead of NAIA Olive Nazarene, Division II William Jewell and Division III Wheaton.

Most of the other top ten teams will be having their invites after Thanksgiving. (#1/6) Denison and (#2/1) Emory will be at the Miami Invitational in Oxford starting November 30. (#4/8) MIT will be hosting their invitational December 1 where (#6/5) NYU will be making an appearance.

NYU will be hosting a duel this weekend against (#5/4) Johns Hopkins as one of the few duels going on this weekend.

November 13 recap

November 6 recap

October 30 recap

October 23 recap

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Blake Pieroni, Racheal Bukowski Named Big Ten Swimmers of the Week

Photo Courtesy: Andy Ringgold / Aringo Photos

The Big Ten conference has announced its weekly award-winners, including swimmers of the week Blake Pieroni and Rachael Bukowski. Read more about all winners below.

Female Swimmer of the Week
Racheal Bukowski, Michigan State
Sr. – Crown Point, Ind. – Crown Point

  • Recorded eight first place finishes for the Spartans over the weekend
  • Took first in the 50 (23.37) and 100 (50.84) freestyle in two meets, extending her winning streak in the 50 freestyle to five consecutive wins and in the 100 freestyle to four consecutive wins
  • Earns her first career Swimmer of the Week honor
  • Last Michigan State Swimmer of the Week: Jenny Rusch (Dec. 13, 2011)

Female Diver of the Week
Jessica Parratto, Indiana 
Jr. – Dover, N.H.

  • Won both the 1-meter (309.50) and 3-meter (348.15) diving events
  • Posted NCAA zone qualifying scores for both events
  • Earns her sixth career Diver of the Week award and the second of the season
  • Last Indiana Diver of the Week: Jessica Parratto (Oct. 25, 2017)

Female Freshman of the Week
Olivia Chick, Michigan State
Yellow Springs, Ohio – Yellow Springs

  • Helped Ohio State win the 200 and 400 freestyle relay and placed second in the 100 and 200 freestyle
  • Her second place finish in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:53.56 is a personal season-best
  • Earns her first career Freshman of the Week award
  • Last Michigan State Freshman of the Week: Elizabeth Brown (Oct. 2, 2012)

Male Swimmer of the Week
Blake Pieroni, Indiana
Sr. – Valparaiso, Ind. – Chesterton

  • Placed first in the 100 (43.17) and 200 (1:47.07) freestyle as well as helped his team to a first place finish in the 200 medley relay
  • Recorded NCAA B Standard qualifying times in both individual events
  • Earns his eighth career Swimmer of the Week honor and the second of the season
  • Last Indiana Swimmer of the Week: Blake Pieroni (Nov. 1, 2017)

Male Diver of the Week
Christo Law, Ohio State
Jr. – San Antonio, Texas – Marshall

  • Swept three titles at the inaugural Minnesota Diving Invitational over the weekend, posting zone qualifying scores in the 1-meter (333.60), 3-meter (395.60) and platform (384.60) events
  • Posted the top score in the nation on the platform and no other diver recorded a higher score than him in any phase of the meet
  • Earns his first Diver of the Week award
  • Last Ohio State Diver of the Week: Colin Zeng (Nov. 16, 2016)

Male Freshman of the Week
Guy Moskovich, Michigan State
Haifa, Israel – ORT kiryat motzKin

  • Won the 1,000 freestyle with a time of 9:32.78, a personal season-best
  • Placed third in the 500 free, contributing points to the team, clocking in at 4:44.73
  • Earns his first Freshman of the Week award
  • Last Michigan State Freshman of the Week: Scott Piper (Oct. 5, 2016)

Press release courtesy of the Big Ten.

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Division II Weekly Preview: First Batch of Invites With Fresh New Rankings

Photo Courtesy: UINDY Sports Info

With the new CSCAA rankings being released on Tuesday just before the first batch of fall invites, the Division II teams will get a chance to defend their new rankings when they put on suits this weekend for the fall invitationals. Powerhouses Queens and Drury will be competing in the Fall Frenzy Invite and the Mizzou Invite respectively as Queens will be hosting and Drury will be driving not far to Columbia for their meets.

The University of Indianapolis men climbed up to number three in the rankings behind Queens and Drury and they will be traveling a short distance to downtown Indianapolis for the House of Champions Invite hosted by IUPUI. The Indianapolis women also climbed to number four in the new CSCAA rankings in a tie with Fresno Pacific.

The UINDY men had one of the biggest jumps in the polls going from 13 to 3, while Oklahoma Baptist went from 22 to 12 as the highest top 25 jump. UC San Diego and McKendree went from unranked to 14 and 15 respectively as the highest total jumps.

The Oklahoma Baptist women also had the highest jump on the women’s side going from 21 to 8. There were a number of big jumps in the women’s Division II rankings with Indianapolis going from 16 to 4, Northern Michigan going from 17 to 7, and Carson Newman going from 18 to 9.

One of the surprises of the season, Fresno Pacific will be in action at the A3 Invitational in San Diego, which is hosted by another one of the improving teams in UC San Diego. Oklahoma Baptist will also be at the Mizzou Invitational this weekend where they will face off against Drury while Northern Michigan and Carson Newman are off this weekend.

November 6 recap

October 29 recap

October 22 recap

October 16 recap

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Commit Swimming Set Of The Week: Stroke & IM Descends

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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Welcome to Swimming World’s Set of the Week sponsored by Commit Swimming.com! This week’s set is a longer IM set that is moves through multiple rounds of all four strokes and ends with a simple descend of 200 IMs.

Every part of the set will rotate strokes in IM order by round. The focus should be on setting up each stroke on the 25’s, attacking the fast 50’s of stroke, and building up to a 100 fast of stroke at the end of every round. Everything else should be at a moderate aerobic level, keeping them moving through and ready to get up a go fast on the stroke focused work. After going through all four rounds, end with 3 x 200 IM’s as a straight descend to see what they have left in the tank!

Check out the set below and let us know what you think!

4 Rounds:

8 x 25 IMO by round (2 x kick/scull/drill/swim) on :30

4 x (50 fast stroke [IMO by round] on :50 + 100 IM on 1:20)

3 x 100 as (#1-50 str/50 fr, #2-75 str/25 fr, #3-100 str fast) on 1:30 (1:40 for BR)

3 x 200 IM desc 1-3 on 3:00



Commit Swimming’s Mission

Commit Swimming builds innovative software for our sport, bringing 21st-century tech to swimming.

Every dang day Commit strives to improve technology in swimming, pushing the boundaries of what has been done before. For far too long swimming software has lacked creativity and simplicity. It is our goal to change that by delivering products that dazzle you with their simplicity and elegance.

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All swimming and dryland training and instruction should be performed under the supervision of a qualified coach or instructor, and in circumstances that ensure the safety of participants.

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Penn State-Behrend’s Tristan Talks About Lifeline to the MPSF

Matt Olimsky. Penn State-Behrend Athletics

By Michael Randazzo, Swimming World Contributor

Two years ago, in one of the more unusual conference marriages in all of NCAA sports, the men’s water polo team from Penn State-Behrend joined the Mountain Pacific Sports Foundation (MPSF). This set up the incongruous situation last season where Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC—the nation’s top four programs—were joined at the MPSF conference tournament by an 0-23 Lions team that subsequently lost to Cal, Stanford and USC by a cumulative score of 44-5.

Many programs were angry and—perhaps—envious of Penn State-Behrend’s bold decision, which head coach Joe Tristan acknowledged was both highly unusual but also necessary if the MPSF was to retain its automatic qualification for the NCAA Men’s Water Polo Tournament.

“Is it odd that a Division III East Coast team—that in any given year is not that great—is joining the MPSF?” he said. “Of course it is. It’s very odd. But you’ve got a conference that was dying, with nobody wanting to lift a finger to help.”

Now in his 14th year in Erie, PA, Tristan has seen a substantial bounce this season due to his program’s MPSF affiliation. Bringing in nine freshmen, including Matt Olimsky, who earlier this season set the conference record for saves in a match (24) against Connecticut College, the Lions achieved a 6-12 record and a fourth-place finish at the Collegiate Water Polo Association’s Division III Championship, its best result in five years.

Prior to the 2017 MPSF Tournament this weekend—where three spots will be claimed in the upcoming NCAAs but not by Penn State—Tristan spoke to Swimming World about building a viable program in between the coasts, the Lion’s turnaround this past season and the benefits of being the worst team in the best men’s water polo conference in America.

What was it that drew you to the sport?

I’m originally from Southern California. My older sister Angel got into water polo when she was in high school. I always had to go to the pool with her.

One day [players from] the boys team asked: “Do you know how to swim? We need another player; get in the water.”

I’m a 13-year-old kid that’s barely pushing 90 lbs. [and I] go up against starters for Warren High School—guys averaging 6-3, 6-4. I liked it, and every day I asked my sister if I could go with her. And it went from there.

How did you end up at Penn State-Behrend?

I had just gotten back from the 2000 Olympic Trials, was living in Ypsilanti, had a job and was coaching water polo at Ann Arbor Huron High School (1997 – 2000). But I wanted something more. I wanted to get myself into the collegiate ranks.

I started the women’s club program at Eastern Michigan and coached for two years. I was looking for job openings and the position at Penn State-Behrend opened up. I had brought my club team to a tournament [there]—that’s how I knew the school—and the next year the job opened up.

Within two weeks I applied, got the job and was out here. It was a big decision but it was something I wanted to do.

14 years later I’m still going strong.

You arrive in Erie, Pennsylvania, not exactly a hotbed of the sport.


Joe Tristan Photo Courtesy: Penn State-Behrend Athletics

I have a full plate. I’m the head men’s and women’s water polo coach, I’m also the assistant swimming coach and I also teach.

In Pennsylvania water polo is not very big. Philadelphia has the majority of the teams; on this side of the state, Erie and Pittsburgh, we have five or six high school teams. We also have three colleges within 20 minutes of each other [Penn State Behrend, Gannon and Mercyhurst].

Erie is starting to become a destination because of these three colleges.

Polo is well-established on either coast but what are the prospects for polo’s growth in the middle of the country?

Illinois, Michigan and Ohio all have state-sponsored [high school] sports. McKendree, Austin, LaSalle, Wagner—all those colleges that have added water polo. Wittenburg [University], just outside of Dayton, OH, has added women’s water polo. There’s lots of growth, which is great for everybody. It’s creating a regional opportunity for prospective students.

A student athlete from Chicago no longer only has Erie as the closest location [for polo]. They can now look a few hours away to McKendree [in Lebanon, IL].

We do want kids from Pennsylvania but we’re looking all over—California, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, New York, Texas—to help us be better. That was the big thing after our 2016 season. My assistant at the time, Dave Matulis, and I agreed that: “We’ve got to knock this out of the park next year. If we don’t it’s going to be a big struggle.”

He did a great job in helping to get this program where it’s at today.

What draws talented water polo players to your program?

Being part of Penn State University, our academics are among the best. We have a lot of engineers on our men’s team—a strength of our campus—among 35 different majors. Engineering and business is what we’re known for.

One of my seniors, Ben Katsrsky, he’s a plastics engineer and he’s already sitting got two job offers on the board. He’s got another semester of school to go and he’s being hunted pretty heavily.

The kids who come in, they’re getting an engineering degree and before they even graduate they’ve got job offers. One of my players from a couple of years ago got a degree in mechanical engineering and he’s now working on a PhD in aerospace and doing research for NASA.

The next part is we develop a lot of athletes. We do get players like Matt Olimsky, who came from a great program in San Diego Shores. He fell in perfectly. And the stats show that.

We also get guys like Troy Valkusky who, when he came in as a freshman, wasn’t a player that was going to start elsewhere. Four years later he’s one of our top goal scorers, he has the highest shooting percentage on our team this year, [and] he’s done some pretty good work for us. There was a development aspect there as opposed to players like Grant Garcia and Olimsky. Garcia, our top goal-scorer, is just a talented player.


Grant Garcia. Photo Courtesy: Penn State-Behrend Athletics

A lot of the athletes who [come to us] are raw, they’re developing and we’re trying to bring out the best of them. Anthony Spoto, our career-leading goal scorer, we were able to take him to tryouts for the U.S. National Men’s team his senior year. We got lucky [with him] but he’s an engineer and he wanted the academics.

After a winless 2016 campaign, there are signs of progress for the Lions in 2017.

The biggest thing is we want more wins. This year was big for us because number one we needed to get guys on the team. Last year was an anomaly because in mid-summer we had 13 guys. [Then] Garcia got into a major car accident. He was driving a full-size truck that got hit by a semi-tractor. It was a major accident; his truck rolled 300 feet after it got hit.

That took out our leading goal scorer from the year before. Then we ran into some academic issues and another player had some financial issues and couldn’t return. We went from 13 to 10 players.

In October, we went to the [Gary Troyer Memorial] in Claremont and my starting goalie got a concussion in the first game. We’re down to nine. In the last game, our back-up goalie got kicked in the knee and it took him out for the season.

I’m thinking: “We’re going to the MPSF Championship for the first time with eight players.” My assistants and I agreed [that 2017] was the year that we’ve got to [improve].

We got on the phone and got the players we needed on the team to bring our numbers up—we have 19 players—that was the big component. We have two seniors so we’re building our freshman class around that.

It’s paying off for us. We’ve got a group of good, quality players that are looking at us for next year.

We want to get into the DIII Eastern Championships. Our goal is to be in the championship game.

Your level of competition is perfectly matched to schools that compete in the Mid-Atlantic Water Polo Conference, West Division. Do you have second thoughts about affiliating with the MPSF?

A year before we joined My AD Brian Streeter asked: “What are your thoughts about joining the MPSF?” I laughed and said: “I don’t know. I’ve never thought of it.” At the time, we were still in the CWPA Southern conference.

There was not much of a big change in respect to who we were playing. Our first-round [conference tournament] game was going to be Princeton or the Naval Academy—which was going to be a 20-1 or 20-3 loss for us. Then our next game would be against a [George Washington] or Gannon or Mercyhurst. Then we’d follow suit with a Washington & Jefferson or a Monmouth.

I don’t regret the decision at all. It’s been a positive component of our program. It’s funny because I fought for what the CWPA has now. It’s something that I would throw out to the league office.

It’s hard. You sit back and you realize that here’s our comparable teams and we can do some different things. The CWPA has a Mid-Atlantic West Tournament, and then the top two teams go on and they still have to play Bucknell or Hopkins or Navy. It’s still the same component that we’re going to be dealing with at the MPSF. The difference? The MPSF ranks 1, 2, 3 and 4. [The CWPA] ranks 10, 12, 15 and 18. That’s obviously the big difference.


Penn State-Behrend Athletics

We play a lot of our games locally because we are a Division III school. We don’t have a budget that allows us to freely go to California every year. When we do go to California in October our athletes pay the bill. When we go for the MPSF our budget covers that.

Our guys are excited to play. One of the things they’ve been talking about the past few weeks is how they feel so much better now that they have players, they have subs, they have all these different things that they didn’t have last year.

We set goals for this weekend coming up; individual and team goals. That is a component of what we do as a team. No matter what we perceive the outcome to be, our goals are imperative to our success.

How does your MPSF membership ultimately help Penn State Behrend to become one of the best DIII programs in the country?

When the Golden Coast Conference formed and the CWPA started that formation and the MPSF was looking for teams, and we decided to make that move, we were questioned a lot. I had both worlds coming at me; some teams were proud of us. Other teams said: “You guys are so dumb. We hate you now. We don’t ever want to pay you again.”

I just roll with the punches. No matter what we do someone’s not going to be happy.

For me, I look at what’s in the best interest of water polo. Letting the MPSF die—will that help NCAA water polo? You ask one coach and they’ll say: “Yes, because then we don’t have to deal with them.” You ask another and they’ll say: “No, I think that’s a very bad idea.”

Let’s lift a lifeline for them. Let’s give them a shot. Ultimately, they still have to have six teams when it’s all said and done. Everything we’re doing doesn’t matter unless we get the six teams. Even if a sixth team adds next year, [the MPSF] still has to sit out a year without an AQ [automatic qualifier].

Everybody gets what they want for one year and then after that year the MPSF will get their AQ back.

Most people say that [the move] did help us. Look at the recruiting class that we brought in. look at our team; they’re doing a great job.

I don’t want to say that it was all the MPSF’s doing because then it seems that we did nothing. That’s not true. There was a lot of time we spent making sure we got the group of guys that we got.


In the Lion’s Den. Penn State-Behrend Athletics

Did we get an influx of recruits who were MPSF or GCC material? We did get more people contacting us in that respect. But we didn’t get those guys because they’re looking at scholarship money that we didn’t have.

I spoke to them, and if I talk to them enough maybe they’ll come. Maybe I get a guy who should have gone to Cal on my team. Then that’s a great thing [Laughs].

But that didn’t happen. But did we get some great players? Yes! Players like Matt Olimsky, Davis Kraft, Bruce Bersiek, Greg Kinzler. All these kids that came in did a great job for us.

There was one incident this year where a tournament director didn’t want us there because we were part of the MPSF. That’s fine with us; in fact, I felt it helped our schedule because it allowed us to get some more practices in.

We roll with the punches. There are teams who do want to play us. In the end, it isn’t really a factor for us joining the GCC or the CWPA because when NCAA rankings roll out, you still have to do play-in games.

Does access to MPSF coaches help you as you develop your program and prepare your athletes?

Definitely. Adam [Wright], Kirk [Everist], Jovan [Vavic], John [Vargas]—they’ve all been very supportive and helpful. They’ve offered opportunities to come and sit with them for a week and watch practices. During the summers, my California guys need places to practice—[MPSF coaches] have offered to get them in and get them training.

I’m a swimming coach as well and have worked with and swam under some of the best swim coaches in the world—Peter Linn at Eastern Michigan, Jon Urbanchek and Jim Richardson when they were with Club Wolverine, Daniella Irle when she was over at Fresno State, Don Watkins at Bellflower Aquatics Club—one of the things I learned during my swimming tenure, which is no different than what I’m doing now, there’s always times and ways to learn.

I’m a pretty bold person so I’ll walk up sometimes and say: “I saw you guys doing this. How can I get my team involved in this type of offense or defense?”

They’re great resources and I’m proud and honored to be a part of the MPSF.

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High School Athletic Admin Leaders to Receive Top NIAAA Awards

Three leaders in high school athletic administration have been selected by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) to receive the organization’s top awards for 2017. Darryl Nance, CMAA, director of athletics for the Greenville (South Carolina) County Schools, is the recipient of the NIAAA Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award; Rick Johnson, CAA, retired athletic administrator of the Peoria (Arizona) Unified School District, has been selected to receive the NIAAA Thomas E. Frederick Award of Excellence; and Lee Green, J.D., one of the nation’s top sports law experts from Overland Park, Kansas, is this year’s recipient of the NIAAA Award of Merit.

These individuals will receive their awards December 12 in Phoenix, Arizona, during banquet festivities at the 48th annual National Athletic Directors Conference conducted jointly by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the NIAAA.

NIAAA Professional Development Award: Darryl Nance, CMAA, South Carolina

The Frank Kovaleski Professional Development Award is presented each year to an NIAAA member who possesses and has contributed to the vision of professional development – the legacy of Frank Kovaleski – and who has made significant contributions and demonstrated excellence in professional development at the local, state and national levels. Kovaleski was director of the NIAAA, as well as assistant director of the NFHS, from 1989 until his retirement in 2005. He was responsible for starting the NIAAA Leadership Training Program in 1996 and expanding the NIAAA Certification Program in 1999.

Nance has become one of the key leaders in athletic administration in South Carolina the past 25 years. After four years at Shannon Forest Christian School and 19 years at Wade Hampton High School – both in Greenville – Nance has been director of athletics for the Greenville County Schools the past two years.

During his time as basketball coach at Shannon Forest and Wade Hampton, Nance compiled a 415-202 record, and he led the 2011 Wade Hampton team to an undefeated season and the state championship. In addition to basketball, Nance coached football, baseball, softball, volleyball and golf. He received his Certified Interscholastic Coach certification from the NFHS in 2015.

Nance earned his Certified Athletic Administrator (CAA) certification from the NIAAA in 1999, and his service to the NIAAA and the South Carolina Athletic Administrators Association (SCAAA) has been at a frenetic pace ever since. He has been an SCAAA Board member since 1999 and was president in 2006. He was the state Leadership Training Institute coordinator for six years, and he has been the state’s certification coordinator and CAA Exam coordinator since 2011.

Nance, who earned his CMAA certification in 2007, has taught NIAAA Leadership Training Institute (LTI) courses at the SCAAA state conference every year since 2001, and he has presented a certification workshop at the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL) Summer Meeting the past five years. In 2013, he organized the NIAAA Professional Development Outreach for Greenville County – the first of its kind in the state. Among his contributions to the SCHSL, Nance was a member of the Executive Committee for four years.

Nationally, Nance served on the NIAAA Board of Directors and was president in 2010. He has completed 32 LTI courses and is certified as an instructor in 27 courses, and he is a member of the National Faculty for Leadership Training Course 719. After his time on the Board, Nance was chairman of the Leadership Succession Plan in 2011 and the Professional Development Task Force in 2013-14. He also served five years on the NIAAA Endowment Committee.

Nance has attended the National Athletic Directors Conference since 2000 and has been a workshop speaker on multiple occasions. He also has written several articles for Interscholastic Athletic Administration magazine.

Nance has been recognized previously with the State Athletic Director of the Year award in 2010. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Furman University in 1985 and his master’s from the United States Sports Academy in 1991.

NIAAA Award of Excellence: Rick Johnson, CAA, Arizona

The Thomas E. Frederick Award of Excellence is a prestigious award presented each year to an NIAAA member whose loyalty to the association and contributions to the profession represent excellence in achievement.

The award is named after the late Thomas E. Frederick, who served as NFHS assistant and associate director for 22 years before his retirement in 1989. Frederick was responsible for starting the National Athletic Directors Conference in 1971 as well as the NIAAA in 1977.

Rick Johnson, CAA, is now retired after 45 years as a teacher, coach and athletic administrator in the Peoria Unified School District (PUSD) in Arizona. Johnson was athletic director at Peoria High School for 15 years, followed by a long stint as district athletic director of the Peoria Unified School District.

During his time as an athletic administrator in the Peoria district, Johnson contributed to many local projects, including establishing privately funded peer-tutoring programs for student-athletes, initiating an athletic hall of fame and creating the first training program for coaches in the PUSD.

Johnson also served as a board member of the Peoria High School Booster Club and the Peoria Park Planning Board for many years.

Beyond his service in the Peoria school district, Johnson has been one of the most significant contributors to the Arizona Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (AIAAA). He served on the AIAAA Executive Board for more than 15 years and was president in 1994-95. He also was a member of the AIAAA State Conference Planning Committee for 20 years and was editor of the AIAAA newsletter for 14 years. Johnson also served as the AIAAA’s Hall of Fame chairperson for eight years and was director of the AIAAA Awards Luncheon for eight years.

Johnson’s service to the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) was equally impressive. He was a member of the AIA Legislative Council for 18 years and served on the AIA Equity in Sports Committee and the AIA Cheerleading Committee. He was president and regional chairman for both the 4A and 5A Conferences for many years, and he directed many AIA state tournaments during his days as athletic director in the PUSD.

A member of the NIAAA for more than 25 years, Johnson served on the NIAAA Publications Committee for eight years and was a member of the NIAAA Credentials Committee for four years. Johnson served on the NIAAA Leadership Training Institute National Faculty and was the state’s representative to the NIAAA Delegate Assembly five times.

Among his previous awards, Johnson received the NIAAA Distinguished Service Award in 1999 and the NFHS Citation in 2003. He was named Arizona Athletic Director of the Year in 1996 and he received the NIAAA State Award of Merit in 1993.

NIAAA Award of Merit: Lee Green, J.D., Kansas

The Award of Merit is the most prestigious award presented by the NIAAA to an individual who has shown outstanding leadership in interscholastic athletics or related areas.

Lee Green, J.D., an attorney and professor emeritus at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, is one of the leading sports law experts in the United States. He recently retired as a professor at Baker University, where for 30 years he taught courses in sports law, constitutional law and business law.

In addition to his 30-year tenure at Baker, Green worked for the global accounting firm of Peat, Marwick & Mitchell (now KPMG) and the 700-attorney national law firm of Blackwell, Sanders, Matheny, Weary & Lombardi (now Husch Blackwell). He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas and a juris doctorate from the University of Kansas School of Law.

Green began his association with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) in the late 1980s. He assisted with the development of four NIAAA Leadership Training Institute classes, and he regularly presents sports law seminars and workshops at the local, state and national levels, including the annual Sports Law Year in Review at the National Athletic Directors Conference.

As a charter member of the Publications Committee since 2007, Green has served as the legal columnist with the NFHS’ national magazine, High School Today. In addition to a feature on a legal topic of current interest, he writes a Legal Brief for each issue and altogether has authored more than 120 articles in the 10 years of the publication’s existence.

Green is the author of three books on sports law – Covering All The Bases: The Athletic Administrator & Coach’s Guide to Sports Law & Risk Management; A Level Playing Field: The Athletic Administrator & Coach’s Guide to Title IX & Gender Equity in Sports; and Sexual Harassment In Schools & Athletic Programs: A Guide to Policy Development & Prevention. He is also the author of the sports law chapter in the textbook, The NIAAA Guide to Interscholastic Athletic Administration.

In addition to seminars and workshops for the NFHS and NIAAA, Green has been a presenter on behalf of other state high school associations, as well as the NAIA and NCAA, and he serves as a sports law consultant to universities and schools districts across the country.

Green retired from full-time teaching in May of last year to devote more time to sports law consulting and writing. During his 30 years at Baker, he was selected five times by the student body as the “Outstanding Professor” on campus. He also received the Distinguished Faculty Award and the Koepke Award for Distinguished Teaching. He also served 10 years as the university’s compliance officer for athletics.

About the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA)

The NIAAA is the professional organization for interscholastic athletic administrators. The association is accredited by AdvancED and North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. Based in Indianapolis, Indiana, the NIAAA promotes and enhances the profession of athletic administration for high school and middle school athletic administrators. Since 1977, the NIAAA has served those who lead education-based athletic programs in the nation’s schools. With current individual membership of nearly 11,000, the NIAAA consists of members from athletic administrator associations in the 50 states, and the District of Columbia, as well as over 40 international countries. Through its 48-course curriculum, and four levels of certification, the NIAAA is the national leader in providing professional development for athletic administrators, directors, coordinators, and supervisors, as well as those serving in assistant principal/athletic director, or activity/athletic director combined roles that lead school-based sports programs. While providing best-practices and serving as a resource for safe and plentiful participation opportunities for student-athletes, the NIAAA places further focus on member benefits, standards, communication, outreach, and recognition, while emphasizing the exchange of ideas among athletic administrators throughout the nation and the world. NIAAA champions the profession of athletic administration through education opportunities, advocating ethics, developing leaders and fostering community. The NIAAA, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, is a full and equal partner with the NFHS. For more information, visit the NIAAA website at www.niaaa.org.

About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.9 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.

Press release courtesy of NIAAA. 

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Analysis: How Do NCAA Swimmers Race the 200s?

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

By Kevin Donnelly, Swimming World College Intern.

At the NCAA level of swimming, swimmers can participate in thirteen different individual events. Some of these events can clearly be defined as sprint events; for example, the 50 free can take the best men no more than 19 seconds, and the women no more than 22 seconds. Some other events can clearly be defined as distance events, with the best men’s milers around 14 and a half minutes to complete their swim. Perhaps the most interesting of these races are the 200s; in particular the 200s of freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

These four races are considered by many younger age group coaches to be long-distance races.  USA Swimming intentionally doesn’t have time standards or records for the 200s of back, breast, and fly for 10 and under swimmers, because they are believed to be too young to effectively swim such a long race of a stroke other than freestyle. We commonly see 11-12 swimmers participating in these events for the first time swim them with the third 50 being the slowest, due to the adrenaline of the start of the race wearing off and fatigue setting in around the third 50, but the adrenaline of almost being done picking back up by the fourth 50.


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

But what about at the college level? Swimmers at the collegiate level are more physically capable than younger swimmers and have the experience of numerous 200s of free and/or stroke, so they know what to expect and have developed strategies for them. How do NCAA swimmers swim the 200s of free and stroke?

Using data extrapolated from the 2017 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Championship Meets, I looked at the 200s for all four strokes for each of the top 16 finishers’ swims in the finals, and denoted which 50 they swam the slowest split. The following four tables will show a breakdown of each of the four strokes, with 32 data points (16 for the 16 men’s finalists and 16 for the women’s finalists) noted in each stroke. Take a look:


First 50 Slowest Second 50 Slowest Third 50 Slowest Fourth 50 Slowest
0 3 12* 18*

Note: Trevor Carroll (Louisville) split the same time (24.09) on both his third and fourth 50s in his 16th-place finish in the men’s 200 free.


First 50 Slowest Second 50 Slowest Third 50 Slowest Fourth 50 Slowest
0 3 13 16


First 50 Slowest Second 50 Slowest Third 50 Slowest Fourth 50 Slowest
0 1 2 29


First 50 Slowest Second 50 Slowest Third 50 Slowest Fourth 50 Slowest
0 0 10 20

Note: Chase Kalisz (Georgia) and Remedy Rule (Texas) were disqualified in the 200 fly finals, so their swims are not included in this data set.  Only 30 swims are represented on this table.


So how do NCAA swimmers swim the 200s? Not surprisingly, no swimmer swam their slowest 50 on the first 50 of their 200s. The benefit of a start as well as the adrenaline of starting a race carried every swimmer through the early parts of the 200 and ensured the first 50 was not the slowest for anyone.

Of the 127 data points found, only seven showed a swimmer who swam their slowest 50 on the second 50. Only 5.5 percent of swims had swimmers going their slowest split on the second 50. The most likely reason for this is due to the adrenaline of the first 50 continuing to carry swimmers on through the race.

Along with that, swimmers at the college level are likely taught to treat the 200s as a sprint, thus creating an extremely fast first 100 yards and a slower second 100.  This is likely the cause of the majority of slower splits being done on the back half of the 200s.

The real interesting breakdowns are between the third and fourth 50s.  In the freestyle, backstroke, and butterfly events, the tables show a moderate balance between the two 50s in terms of which is the slowest. In backstroke, we saw 16 people swam their slowest splits on the fourth 50, while 13 swam their slowest splits on the third. Meanwhile, in butterfly, we saw 20 swam their slowest splits on the fourth, with just ten swimming their slowest splits on the third.

In breaststroke, however, the balance is not there in the least. An overwhelming 29 of the 32 swimmers (90.6 percent) swam their fourth 50 the slowest, with just three swimmers swimming faster on the fourth than on another 50.

Why could this be? Since it is known breaststroke is naturally the slowest of the four strokes, it could be assumed the swimmers fatigue the most on breaststroke, thus causing them to run out of steam a bit near the end of the race much quicker than on backstroke or freestyle. The adrenaline of being just about done with the race likely isn’t there for breaststrokers at the end of a 200, because they have to swim the longest of the 200s of stroke and fatigue more than the swimmers of other strokes as a result.

Overall, 83 of the 127 data points, or 65.4 percent, showed the fourth 50 was the slowest 50 of the 200s of stroke; 37 of the 127, or 29.1 percent, found the third 50 to be the slowest; and 7 of the 127, or 5.5 percent, found the second 50 to be the slowest.


Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick


At the NCAA level in the future, it should be expected that the majority of swimmers in the 200s of free, back, breast, and fly will swim their slowest 50s on the fourth 50 of their races.

This is especially true in breaststroke, where it is the rarest to see swimmers swim slower on another 50 other than the fourth. We can expect very few swims in the 200 breaststroke at the NCAA Championships to feature the slowest 50 on the second or third 50.

Finally, we can hypothesize that college coaches teach their 200 swimmers to swim the 200 as more of a sprint, due to the data showing the vast majority of swimmers swimming their slowest 50s in the latter half of their races.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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