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Syd
June 18th, 2008, 08:20 PM
The 200 free is a new event to me. I never raced it before last year, but I have to say I am hooked on the distance.

There is something immensely satisfying about completing a good 200. Perhaps it is because I have always only raced 50's and 100's that I feel this way.

It is one of those races that is difficult to classify. Too long to be a flat-out sprint and too short to be be considered a distance event, it seems to fall rather awkwardly somewhere between middle distance and sprint.

Last year I did a 2:16.34 LCM 200 free (out in 1:05.07 and back in 1:11.27). Those are awful splits I know, but in my defense I only intended for the 200 to be a warm up for my other events and when I saw I was out in front after the first 100 I held back.

I haven't swum it again in competition since then but will have another go at it in October this year. I have been spending a lot of time, recently, on the 200 in training, but I'm not sure that I am going about it in the right fashion and wanted to ask for advice.

How have I been training? Well, mostly doing lots of 200's trying to see how close I can get my splits to one another. At least twice a week I do one at race pace to gauge my progress and get race pace practice. Today I went a 2:08.08 SCM from a push off the wall (out in 1:01 high and back in 1:06 something). Still not ideal splits but an improvement. I felt I still had gas left in the tank, even though I was breathing hard at the end and my pulse was 168.

Apart from that I also do some broken 200's (4 x 50 with 10 seconds rest between each).

I also do a lot of 100's at 1:20 but I am not sure if these help much at all. Most times I am crusing in somewhere between 1:12 and 1:15 getting 5 seconds rest and going off again. I mean they are a good aerobic workout but I don't know if they help me much for the 200.

My goal this year. I would love to go under 2:05 LCM but maybe a more realistic goal would be 2:06. Out in a 1:01 and back in a 1:04 or 1:05.

The best advice I have heard on the 200 was from Paul Smith who said that you should work the third 50 just a little bit harder than you think you should be working it. This advice has helped me narrow down the difference between those split times.

I still feel the difference between my splits is too big. I am not a back halfer and always have to go out hard to do a good time. In fact my best 200's are when I take the first half out so hard that, at the 100m mark, I start trying to convince myself I should stop there and make it a 100 for time. Then I know I have expended the right amount of energy.

So my question: apart from doing race pace 200's and broken 200's, how should I be training? What sort of distance should I be doing in a week? Are there any strategies I should be considering? Would really appreciate any advice.

Thanks,
Syd

Shaman
June 18th, 2008, 08:55 PM
I'm curious as well.

Big AL
June 18th, 2008, 09:07 PM
You can do about anything you want as far as yardage and types of sets. A few things that seem to work best for developing a 200.
1) Whatever you do (50/100/200/400/etc), swim the second half faster than the first half. Get used to accelerating through the swim and finish faster than you begin.
2) Try sets where you "change up" your speed... pace, sprint, pace, or sprint, pace, sprint. Being able to "change gears" is especially important in 200 free. Personally, I have found the ability to do this during training as the best indicator of how well I can control a race.
3) Although working the back half faster than the first half, don't "begin easy" just so you can be fast at the end. Make sure you finish fast, but continue to "limbo down" that first 50 faster and faster until you are going out "fast" and finishing "strong".

As this thread is about training, how to race a 200 free is another story.

quicksilver
June 18th, 2008, 09:38 PM
Pace the first hundred, save you legs, and come back in an even split.
Your first 100 will be fast no matter how you try to contain yourself.

(Mentally you'll start the race on your 3rd 50.) That's a good mindset.
The 200 requires a strategy based on your ability to sprint versus being hold a steady pace.
A sprinter usually takes it out too hard and then suffers the consequences.

Aside from swimming sets of 200's or 250's...Try swimming a 200 for time at least once or twice a week (as you already said)
Get used to the point where you start falling apart and learn to swim through the discomfort.

If you're in really good shape, and you've done your homework...
Go out hard and die like a man.

Allen Stark
June 18th, 2008, 09:53 PM
If you are swimming 200s they can't be at race pace.If you want to go 2:06 then 2:06 is race pace.If you can do that in workout then your race pace is faster.Broken 50s with the total swim time at 2:06 seems a better way to get race pace.Another set would be 100s with the goal to accelerate the whole way and keep your times at 1:05(your goal time for the 2nd 100,I'd call that race pace.)What interval should you do those on?Do them with enough rest to keep at 1:05.When you are doing "race pace" train your body to know what it is.

ande
June 19th, 2008, 10:24 AM
200's are controlled sprints
you need speed and endurance

here's examples of how elite swimmers have recently split it

1 Klueh, Michael 21 Longhorn 1:49.57 1:47.45 OLY
25.74
53.03 (27.29)
1:20.63 (27.60)
1:47.45 (26.82)

2 Cramer, Jayme 25 Unattached 1:50.89 1:47.65 OLY
25.40
52.68 (27.28)
1:20.25 (27.57)
1:47.65 (27.40)

3 Berens, Ricky 20 Longhorn 1:51.45 1:48.74 OLY
25.50
52.79 (27.29)
1:21.19 (28.40)
1:48.74 (27.55)

4 McGinnis, Matt 22 Longhorn 1:50.85 1:49.19 OLY
25.70
53.86 (28.16)
1:21.91 (28.05)
1:49.19 (27.28)

1 Coventry, Kirst 24 Longhorn 2:04.04 1:57.04 OLY
27.34
56.72 (29.38)
1:26.86 (30.14)
1:57.04 (30.18)

2 Marshall, Chris 21 Aggie 2:03.10 1:58.36 OLY
28.61
58.78 (30.17)
1:28.90 (30.12)
1:58.36 (29.46)

3 Rodriquez, Jess 17 Longhorn 2:00.64 2:00.93 OLY
28.29
58.91 (30.62)
1:30.14 (31.23)
2:00.93 (30.79)

here's how not to split it

13 Blackman, Canda 22 Mustangs 2:06.72 2:05.27 JRS
28.64
1:00.02 (31.38)
1:32.24 (32.22)
2:05.27 (33.03)
She slightly died in this race.

or

14 Jackson, Jonath 18 Longhorn 1:55.59 1:54.57 JRS
24.75
53.17 (28.42)
1:23.12 (29.95)
1:54.57 (31.45)
53.17 1:01.40 OUCH

ideally you want to keep your 100's 0 to 2 seconds apart
3 or 4 is acceptable
5 or more is acceptable for breast and fly but
not back and free
basically what you do is swim an easy speed 50
then swim 3 more 50's at the same pace
something like
30.9 32.9 32.9 32.9
keep in mind you don't have to flip at the end of the 4th lap,
it's a hand touch so
if you're holding the same time on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th length
you should be slightly faster on your 4th length.


when you're racing 200's, remember to:
+ breathe often
+ save your legs for the 2nd 100
+ build each length
+ don't die at the 100
+ don't try to suddenly change gears, you'll go faster for a moment then shut down and go slower
+ be fast
+ stay relaxed

work on speed and conditioning in training


the best thing you can do to improve your 200 ability is to
race one or 2 200's a week

warm up
rest 10 - 15 minutes
put on a fast suit then
race a 200 for time,
get your splits
track your results week to week

JMiller
June 19th, 2008, 12:32 PM
Syd,

To swim a great 200m race your body will have to adapt to a program that is predominantly focused on sprint endurance. Broken 200's are useful, although a higher level of training at faster than race pace is critical.

Example sets are; (On different days)

SCM/LCM

5x(4x50) on 1:10, 1:00, :50, :40, 1:30 (LAST 4, BEST AVERAGE)

3x(4x100) on 1:40 (Last 100 of each set FAST)

75 strong on 1:00, 2x25 FAST on :45, 75 strong on 1:00

4x150 on 4:00 with fins, (Best average)

6x50 on 1:00 (Try to hold sub-30's)

4x75 on 1:10 (Try to hold sub-45's)

A broken 200 with 10 rest at each 50

200 TOP SPEED with finz

LOT's of DISTANCE PER STROKE WORK
COUNT STROKES, SWIM SLOWER and bring down total #
example
3x400 descend stroke count
4x100 2 strokes less, (walk the stride)

Enjoy!


How have I been training? Well, mostly doing lots of 200's trying to see how close I can get my splits to one another. At least twice a week I do one at race pace to gauge my progress and get race pace practice. Today I went a 2:08.08 SCM from a push off the wall (out in 1:01 high and back in 1:06 something). Still not ideal splits but an improvement. I felt I still had gas left in the tank, even though I was breathing hard at the end and my pulse was 168.

Apart from that I also do some broken 200's (4 x 50 with 10 seconds rest between each).

I also do a lot of 100's at 1:20 but I am not sure if these help much at all. Most times I am crusing in somewhere between 1:12 and 1:15 getting 5 seconds rest and going off again. I mean they are a good aerobic workout but I don't know if they help me much for the 200.

Tim L
June 19th, 2008, 12:33 PM
Syd,

I struggle with the 200 not because I don't evenly split the 100s, but because I don't go out fast enough. I rarely swim the 200 free and I tend to hold back too much on the first 100 which I am trying to remedy. I don't know what your 100 Free time is, but if you really want to excel at the 200 it looks like most swimmers are out in the first 100 within 2 to 3 seconds of their 100 Free time. Anyway, don't hold back too much on your first 100 and then if you can keep the second 100 within 2 to 4 seconds you should do well.

Keep up the good work - it sounds like you are making a lot of progress.

Tim

Paul Smith
June 19th, 2008, 01:06 PM
Syd, your going to hear a lot of different and usually good advise....however you've already identified the single most important element on how to swim/train/race this distance and that is your taking it out hard/fast.

I never have been able to do this and have always been a strong back half swimmer...my constant challenge is getting out fast enough and sadly I only do this well when I have a jackrabbit like John leading the way.

Having said all that the bottom line on this distance is no matter how you train or race its gonna hurt in a different way than any other distance. Allen's advice is excellent and I would suggest the more you dial in that 50 speed in workout at the 30 second pace....with less and less rest the more you'll find that same sense of pace in a race. This can be done on broken 200 sets, but many others as well...one that Rich A got me into years a go (an Ian Thorpe classic) is:

16 x 50's @ :50 every 4th 200 pace
12 x 50's @ :55 every 3rd 200 pace
8 x 50's : 1:00 every other 200 pace
4 x 50's @ 1:05 every one 200 pace

Good luck!

TheGoodSmith
June 19th, 2008, 03:36 PM
1. Train more for the 500 and your 200 will be solid. Train for the 200 and your 100 will be solid.
2. Take the lead on the 1st 100 if you are not a backhalfer. Never be afraid to establish discipline.
3. Work the 3rd 50 until you cry
4. The race is all about "easy speed". Your first 100 should be smooth and about 2 seconds slower than your best 100. Second hundred should be about 2.5 seconds slower than your 1st 100.
5. The race is one of the most strategic "poker face" races in the sport. Many sprinters have dealt a fierce hand the 1st hundred and held on to win over a backhalfer. It is no longer a middle distance race like the 1970s. It is a controlled sprint as Ande has stated. Sometimes the whole heat waits too long for someone to take the lead and the whole heat does a slow time.
6. Kick......... it is not a 500........ you must kick like a 100 man.
7. Expect to flail your numb arms and throw up the last 50. If you feel strong the last 50 you took it out too slow.
8. Swim your own race or number 5 will blow up in your face.
9. You must have "Easy Speed"
10. Easy Speed
11. Easy Speed
12. Easy Speed
13. Easy Speed
14. Easy Speed
15 Easy Speed


........... and yes..... I did swim this race once upon a time Evil one.

ande
June 19th, 2008, 03:53 PM
added another example of how not to swim a 200 from the
2008 Sr Cir meet http://www.utexas.edu/longhornaquatics/results/index.htm

14 Jackson, Jonath 18 Longhorn 1:55.59 1:54.57 JRS
24.75
53.17 (28.42)
1:23.12 (29.95)
1:54.57 (31.45)
53.17 1:01.40 OUCH!
maybe if he hadn't gone so hard on the 1st and 2nd length
he would have been able to hold a much better pace on his last 2 lengths.

there were other splits that were worse but those people were going for splits at the 50 or 100
Jonathan was really trying to swim a 200

an 11 second gap is very painful and
indicates a serious splitting problem
he made the wrong effort choice on the 1st 50
perhaps if he'd given up
2 seconds in the first 100
he might have gained
4 seconds in the 2nd 100

pwolf66
June 19th, 2008, 04:13 PM
Wow, that's how to go out hard and die like a dog. Took a full second off his seed, tho. What was his heat like? Did someone rabbit on him and he tried to keep up? Agree with you, if he backs down a bit he should more than make up on the back half.

Paul Smith
June 19th, 2008, 04:59 PM
and yes..... I did swim this race once upon a time Evil one.

And very well indeed....in fact I keep saying its time for you to get back to your roots...200 free/200IM

How about in Portland?

knelson
June 20th, 2008, 12:09 AM
added another example of how not to swim a 200 from the 2008 Sr Cir meet

Obviously not a great way to split a race, but if I were his coach I'd be proud of him. It takes guts to take a race out like that. It didn't work out for him, but I give him props for just trying.

Shaman
June 20th, 2008, 12:58 AM
How about these:
1 Adrian, Nathan 12 BREM-22.42 45.86 1:11.00 1:37.17

65 Wildman-Tobriner, Ben 23 UNAT-PC 26.45 55.43(28.98) 1:25.36(29.93) 1:57.63(32.27)

hofffam
June 20th, 2008, 10:19 AM
added another example of how not to swim a 200 from the
2008 Sr Cir meet http://www.utexas.edu/longhornaquatics/results/index.htm

14 Jackson, Jonath 18 Longhorn 1:55.59 1:54.57 JRS
24.75
53.17 (28.42)
1:23.12 (29.95)
1:54.57 (31.45)
53.17 1:01.40 OUCH!
maybe if he hadn't gone so hard on the 1st and 2nd length
he would have been able to hold a much better pace on his last 2 lengths.

there were other splits that were worse but those people were going for splits at the 50 or 100
Jonathan was really trying to swim a 200

an 11 second gap is very painful and
indicates a serious splitting problem
he made the wrong effort choice on the 1st 50
perhaps if he'd given up
2 seconds in the first 100
he might have gained
4 seconds in the 2nd 100


Jonathan Jackson was the Big12 champion in the 50 free SCY as a freshman. He swam a 1:38.02 200 free SCY and split 47.92/50.1 - very nice splits. So it seems he knows how to split a 200. He is a sprinter "swimming up" to the to 200. Maybe he just said to himself "what the hell" and crashed and burned.

I think it was a great swim!

Syd
June 20th, 2008, 10:31 AM
Thank you everybody for some really excellent advice.



(Mentally you'll start the race on your 3rd 50.) That's a good mindset.



Great advice and, I think, that's what Paul was hinting at when he said that you have to work the 3rd 50 faster than you think you should be working it. The 3rd 50 is where the pain starts and where you really have to concentrate.


If you are swimming 200s they can't be at race pace.If you want to go 2:06 then 2:06 is race pace.If you can do that in workout then your race pace is faster.Broken 50s with the total swim time at 2:06 seems a better way to get race pace.When you are doing "race pace" train your body to know what it is.


Good point. I suppose I should have said 'my very fast practice pace'. There are so many things that potentially make you faster on race day (a good taper, a fast, new suit, the stimulus of competition, etc). But you are so right: if you want to compete fast you have to train your body to know what it feels like to go at that pace in practice.


200's are controlled sprints
you need speed and endurance

work on speed and conditioning in training


the best thing you can do to improve your 200 ability is to
race one or 2 200's a week



Exactly my feeling on the matter. And thanks for those splits Ande!

Jonathan and Paul, thanks for those workout sets. I shall definitely be incorporating some of those into my training.


I would suggest the more you dial in that 50 speed in workout at the 30 second pace....with less and less rest the more you'll find that same sense of pace in a race.

This approach, it seems, is a very effective way of training the body to deal with pain associated with high speed and little rest.


1. Train more for the 500 and your 200 will be solid. Train for the 200 and your 100 will be solid.
2. Take the lead on the 1st 100 if you are not a backhalfer. Never be afraid to establish discipline.
3. Work the 3rd 50 until you cry
4. The race is all about "easy speed". Your first 100 should be smooth and about 2 seconds slower than your best 100. Second hundred should be about 2.5 seconds slower than your 1st 100.
5. The race is one of the most strategic "poker face" races in the sport. Many sprinters have dealt a fierce hand the 1st hundred and held on to win over a backhalfer. It is no longer a middle distance race like the 1970s. It is a controlled sprint as Ande has stated. Sometimes the whole heat waits too long for someone to take the lead and the whole heat does a slow time.
6. Kick......... it is not a 500........ you must kick like a 100 man.
7. Expect to flail your numb arms and throw up the last 50. If you feel strong the last 50 you took it out too slow.
8. Swim your own race or number 5 will blow up in your face.
9. You must have "Easy Speed"
10. Easy Speed
11. Easy Speed
12. Easy Speed
13. Easy Speed
14. Easy Speed
15 Easy Speed


........... and yes..... I did swim this race once upon a time Evil one.

Great advice. Thanks John!



... if you really want to excel at the 200 it looks like most swimmers are out in the first 100 within 2 to 3 seconds of their 100 Free time. Anyway, don't hold back too much on your first 100 and then if you can keep the second 100 within 2 to 4 seconds you should do well.

I have heard "double your hundred time and add 4 seconds". That would fit in with what you and John are saying - give or take a second. Is that an accurate prediction of where we can/should be? If I do that with my 100 time I should be going a sub 2 min 200 but I am nowhere near that. What implications does that have? I suppose it means that I need to do some serious work on my second 100!

knelson
June 20th, 2008, 12:27 PM
I have heard "double your hundred time and add 4 seconds". That would fit in with what you and John are saying - give or take a second. Is that an accurate prediction of where we can/should be?

No way. That's waay too fast. I'd say twice your 100 time plus 8-10 seconds is more like it.

hofffam
June 20th, 2008, 01:39 PM
The men's WRs for 100 free and 200 free are:

LCM: 47.5 / 1:43.86 ......200 = 219% of the 100 time
SCM: 45.8 / 1:41.10 ......200 = 221% of the 100 time

I think it makes much more sense to apply a percentage than a fixed amount of time. In the WR case the 200 time is 2 X (100 time)+8.89 and 2 X (100 time) + 9.5.

I think slower swimmers (like me) might have a similar percentage difference but the time difference in seconds will be greater.

ande
June 20th, 2008, 01:53 PM
I only know of one person who had a double and add 4 seconds for his 100 / 200 ratio

he went
58 in the 100 and
2:00 in the 200

needless to say he was a

no speed can't sprint drop dead distance dude

his 500 pace wasn't much different from his 200 pace
he was even better at 1500's & 1,650's and even better at
5k's & 10's

exceptional 200 swimmers are double and add 6 seconds
phelps goes 48.4 / 1:43.8 which is a 7 second diff
swimmers need to be very well conditioned to do this

double and add 8 is more common

double and add 10 is even more common
but some masters are double and add 12 - 18

I tend to be a double and add 10 kind of guy

also different ratios apply to different strokes
fr & bk often has lower ratios that br & fl
though dennis baker went 58 low in the 100 fly & 2:04.68 in the 200 fly
which is an 8 second diff in fly which is rare and amazing
my 100/200 fly ratio is probably 14 - 16
(i have no desire to test this because it would involve swimming a 200 fly)

my 100/200 bk is worse than my 100/200 fr
because I SDK in bk better in the 100 than in the 200
it's even worse comparing LCM to scy or scm



I have heard "double your hundred time and add 4 seconds".

Syd
October 19th, 2008, 08:05 PM
I didn't achieve my goal time but it was a 6 second improvement on last year and a PB. On Saturday I went 2:10:33 LCM. Out in a 1:01:44 and back in a 1:08:89.

I was planning to go out in a 1:01 (so that was spot on) but the wheels came off in the final 50 and I ran out of steam. Still, I am not happy with the 7 + second difference between the first and second hundred. I have to find a way to lower that gap. Thing is, I do this in training. If I go out in a 71, I come back in a 78 or 79. If I go out in a 68 then I come back in a 76 or 77 and if I go out in a 61 the second hundred will be a 69. There always seems to be about a 7, 8 or 9 second difference between my first and second hundreds. Not sure if it is a psychological barrier I need to break or if it is a fitness issue.

I was happier with my 50 free time of 26:15 which was more than a second faster than last year's 27:30 and also a PB.

aquaFeisty
October 20th, 2008, 08:00 AM
Congrats on your PB's, Syd!! A 6 second drop is fantastic, as is a second in a 50! :bliss:

I have the same problems with high differential between 1st and 2nd 100's. (Actually, yours is much better than mine.) I'm not sure that 7 seconds is so terrible for LCM. The lack of those turns on the 2nd hundred is a killer.

pwolf66
October 20th, 2008, 10:38 AM
Syd,

Nice drop!!!!

Instead of focusing so much on front half versus back half in practice, do more sets where you build by 50. So for example if your 50 time is 30 (just to make it easier), then a set of 200s where you build by 50s with a goal of going 45,42,39,37 just to give yourself an emphasis on going faster for the 2nd half.

ande
October 20th, 2008, 10:55 AM
CONGRATULATIONS SYD

2:10 & 26 are very good
what suit did you wear?

yes you definitely can split your 200 better
1:01:44 1:08:89 is a 7.45 sec diff
which is too wide,

you want to keep your 100's within 0 to 4.0

you probably went too hard on the first 100 & it cost you on the 2nd 100
you want to go out smooth and easy, breathing often light kick
so you're fast but feeling good at the 100
swim a strong 3rd 50 and bring home that last one
ideally your 2nd, 3rd and 4th 50 should be very close or even descended
with better splitting you should be able to go 63 65
with more conditioning and speed you'll be even faster

take care,

ande


I didn't achieve my goal time but it was a 6 second improvement on last year and a PB. On Saturday I went
2:10:33 LCM. Out in a 1:01:44 and back in a 1:08:89


I was planning to go out in a 1:01 (so that was spot on) but the wheels came off in the final 50 and I ran out of steam. Still, I am not happy with the 7 + second difference between the first and second hundred. I have to find a way to lower that gap. Thing is, I do this in training. If I go out in a 71, I come back in a 78 or 79. If I go out in a 68 then I come back in a 76 or 77 and if I go out in a 61 the second hundred will be a 69. There always seems to be about a 7, 8 or 9 second difference between my first and second hundreds. Not sure if it is a psychological barrier I need to break or if it is a fitness issue.

I was happier with my 50 free time of 26:15 which was more than a second faster than last year's 27:30 and also a PB.

Syd
October 20th, 2008, 08:18 PM
Thanks Carrie, Paul and Ande




Instead of focusing so much on front half versus back half in practice, do more sets where you build by 50.


You're right. I have been too obsessed with the difference between the first and second 100's. Quicksilver suggested I look at it as four strong 50's and I like that way of approaching it.



what suit did you wear?
Just Arena jammers. No technical suit, yet. I promised myself when I go sub 26 for the 50 free lcm I will get one. To be honest, I would be embarrassed to wear one. Don't feel good enough.




yes you definitely can split your 200 better
... a 7.45 sec diff is too wide,

you probably went too hard on the first 100 & it cost you on the 2nd 100

you want to go out smooth and easy, breathing often light kick
so you're fast but feeling good at the 100
swim a strong 3rd 50 and bring home that last one
ideally your 2nd, 3rd and 4th 50 should be very close or even descended


I actually did feel strong at the end of the first 100. That first 100 was smooth and far from all out. I haven't raced a 100 lcm since I started up swimming again but based on my 50 time I reckon I could go out in a 27.50 and come back in a 30 for a 57 high. So that first 100 split was about 4 seconds off my 100 time which is what I was aiming for.

I lost concentration on that second hundred. At one point I was even thinking about the dinner I had eaten the previous night (waaaay too much red meat and rich seafood and waaaay too spicy). And that lapse in concentration cost me. I shortened my stroke, dropped my elbows and forgot about my kick. And just when I needed to be focussing on them. The 200 requires IMMENSE focus of mind. I both love and hate this race.




you want to keep your 100's within 0 to 4.0

Yes, that is what I am aiming for.

geochuck
October 20th, 2008, 08:26 PM
I think you are worrying about splits too much. Get your self in shape to do 50s in 29 sec on 35. You will soon be doing under 2 minutes for a 200.

JMiller
October 21st, 2008, 01:30 AM
This is an excellent result, especially so early in the season. You have the rest of the year to reach your goals, and that's usually how it goes.
Either way, a great starting point.


I didn't achieve my goal time but it was a 6 second improvement on last year and a PB. On Saturday I went 2:10:33 LCM. Out in a 1:01:44 and back in a 1:08:89.

I was happier with my 50 free time of 26:15 which was more than a second faster than last year's 27:30 and also a PB.

Try something totally different on the next 200. Go out 1:05, and pretend the second 100 is an all-out sprint.