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slow
January 30th, 2012, 12:45 PM
Imagine you get to arrange four swimmers into a freestyle relay team. They are within ~10% difference when it comes to times.

Would you do the most popular arrangement?
1st leg - 2nd fastest swimmer
2nd leg - 3rd fastest swimmer
3rd leg - slowest swimmer
4th leg - fastest swimmer

...or a different one? Would you consider other factors besides speed such as personality, experience, etc.? Does it make a difference if it is 4x50 or 4x200?

So what order would you put them in?

knelson
January 30th, 2012, 01:27 PM
1) If you've got someone without much relay start experience, put that person first.
2) Put your best racer last.

Rich Abrahams
January 30th, 2012, 01:31 PM
See if anyone really wants an official split. They should lead off.

Maui Mike
January 30th, 2012, 01:36 PM
Sometimes the situation enters into the decision, such as dual meets.

chowmi
January 30th, 2012, 02:14 PM
I would first let them decide among themselves. It's masters, we're all adults, and I cannot recall the coach ever deciding for us. We seemed to know for each relay what to do.

If someone wants a split, they should lead.

Times alone should not dicate order. Some people are better relays swimmers than others. I personally like to go 2nd or 3rd IF I am not getting a split. I don't like going 4th, because I swim really fast as 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, and I don't need the extra umph of anchoring RELATIVE to other relay swimmers. Or how about if it was a MIXED relay? That could also determine how you want to stack your swimmers. Or how about trying to anticipate a race with another team in particular, so you'd line up your order according to how they line up theirs.

Last, you could always do the "draw the name out of a hat", which is really fun for medley relays.

Paredes
January 30th, 2012, 02:43 PM
How I've seen most success if your mixing very fast swimmers with one slow swimmer or just a younger swimmer is:

Second Fastest
Fastest
Third Fastest
Slowest

This gives you such a big lead that for the slowest its easier to hold them off :D

It was a great counter for the usual stack cause the fastest goes against their slowest.

fmracing
January 30th, 2012, 02:49 PM
1) If you've got someone without much relay start experience, put that person first.
2) Put your best racer last.


THIS... or, the weakest relay starter goes first. I had plenty of experience, but still very poor relay starts. Led off almost every free relay I was ever on back in college because my flat start was pretty good back then.

couldbebetterfly
January 30th, 2012, 02:51 PM
As an age grouper and in Master's we always went:

2nd fastest
slowest
2nd slowest
fastest

I don't think strategy ever came into it!

Redbird Alum
January 30th, 2012, 02:51 PM
Fastest.
2nd Fastest.
3rd Fastest.
4th Fastest.

(I don't believe in slowness...) After all, then your fastest swimmers are there to psych up, coach and/or calm down your less fast swimmer. It puts the team out in front early, possibly taking the heart out of other team's slowbies who see how far behind they are!

Calvin S
January 30th, 2012, 03:31 PM
The club coach here almost always shotguns his freestyle relays (fastest followed by second fastest). I believe your best racer might not necessarily be your "fastest" swimmer, but actually the person who thrives the most off the thrill of anchoring a relay. That person should go last.

pmccoy
January 30th, 2012, 03:55 PM
If you have someone with a quick reaction time, you might consider putting them first. Or perhaps if you have someone that chronically jumps early on relay exchanges. As mentioned before, offer the first slot to anyone looking for a split. My team did that for me once and I greatly appreciated it.

The anchor leg is the only other one I'd worry about. Depending upon how important the race is, this leg can have some pressure associated with it. Some people thrive off it. Others hate it. This person doesn't need to be the fastest but you don't want someone who is going to turn into a basket case if they think they might lose it for the team.

Maui Mike
January 30th, 2012, 10:24 PM
Just remember to have Jason Lezak anchor.

Fresnoid
January 30th, 2012, 10:45 PM
Just remember to have Jason Lezak anchor.

Or Bruce Hayes.

Betsy
January 31st, 2012, 01:57 PM
Several thoughts...
On our Masters team, there is often a fight for 1st so the swimmer can get a lead-off split.
If you are not in a tight race for 1st or any other place, the order shouldn't matter. If everyone does their time, the total will be the same.
If it is a real race, personality and determination make a huge difference. Some people are such relay competitors that their best times are always on a relay.
On the other hand, some Masters are sensitive about being the slowest and don't want to be 1st or last so it is not so obvious if they are slower.

Swimosaur
January 31st, 2012, 02:20 PM
Lo these many years ago, we had a very small person on our team. The coach would often arrange the relays,

Fastest
Smallest
Another Guy
Second Fastest

The reasoning was to get the smaller guy out in front of the turbulence, so he wouldn't be washed into the lane lanes. It worked pretty well.

In Masters, that strategy could be useful, particularly in mixed relays.

Michael Heather
January 31st, 2012, 09:56 PM
Instead of speed, I organize by ability.

1) Fastest flat starter
2) best relay start
3) second best relay start
4) most competitive (in case he has to come from behind)

slow
February 1st, 2012, 10:33 PM
All of these ideas make sense.

I think another consideration is who is sacrificing the most to be on the relay. If that person has a very full dance card, it might be good to let them go last so they can just cruise if the outcome is already decided.

GGS5T
February 2nd, 2012, 06:15 AM
I'd be inclined to let the swimmer who wants to lead, go first. If this is the same swimmer who has the fastest reaction time then that's a real bonus. (I agree with pmccoy here)

I always put my fastest swimmer third, and my slowest swimmer last. The slowest swimmer in the team will, if he's put under pressure, raise his game.

I wouldn't put my slowest swimmer in 2nd or 3rd place where he can hide, and to a great extent, enjoy the ride, being carried along by the others.

Rykno
February 2nd, 2012, 09:59 AM
It really depends on how much slower the slower swimmers are.

It's no fun swimming in the wake of others. so if the diff is large usually 1-4 in speed.

if 1 is better than the other 3 but the other 3 can hold their own I like to see the one who usually steps up on relays and can chase down swimmers infront of them. I've seen this type of swimmer go 3-4s under their pb in a 200 fr, 1-2 100 fr .5-1 in a 50. in the 50 it can be the transition start that helps, but in the 100 and 200 it's something else that motivates them to go out hard and not die.

the other factor that can play in is reaction time. some of my swimmers don't gain anything in a relay start so they might as well lead off.

ande
February 2nd, 2012, 12:34 PM
Imagine you get to arrange four swimmers into a freestyle relay team. They are within ~10% difference when it comes to times.

Would you do the most popular arrangement?
1st leg - 2nd fastest swimmer
2nd leg - 3rd fastest swimmer
3rd leg - slowest swimmer
4th leg - fastest swimmer

...or a different one? Would you consider other factors besides speed such as personality, experience, etc.? Does it make a difference if it is 4x50 or 4x200?

So what order would you put them in?

It all depends, on free relays coaches usually put the best starters first & the fastest swimmers last. But if a swimmer wants a split request for their lead off, they should go first.

It all depends on the purpose of the relay.

On medley relays, put the fastest swimmers in each slot.
bk
br
fl
fr
do the math and figure out who should swim where.

Sometimes coaches put their fastest swimmers 1st & 2nd to give the 3rd & 4th swimmers clear water to race in.

gaash
February 3rd, 2012, 02:44 PM
In freestyle I would think the guy with the best regular start (or worst relay start) goes first and the rest doesn't really matter. The fact that everyone has a different way they think is best should tell you it doesn't really matter.

In medley relays as ande said, it's simple math.