View Full Version : Sprinter, middle distance or distance?

Jeff Commings
October 25th, 2005, 04:36 PM
A sprinter is a person who regularly races distances of 50-100 yards/meters and does the race effectively, i.e. quick tempo, good breath control, quick reaction off the start, ability to six-beat kick on freestyle and backstroke with little effect on stroke rate. In workouts, a sprinter favors the short distance sets with lots of rest, or aerobic sets with enough recovery time. A sprinter might dabble in the 200s, but might be the one taking the race out very fast and getting caught at the end.

A middle distance swimmer will often swim 100-yard/meter races, but sticks primarily with the 200s, and will bump up to the 400 IM or 500 free on occasion. A middle distance swimmer tends to find a second wind or energy boost in the second half of a 200 race or exhibits more endurance at the end of 100 race than the sprinter, i.e. does not slow stroke rate or uses endurance boost to finish race. In workouts, middle distance swimmers favor VO2 max sets and will often do aerobic sets on a faster interval than sprinters, due to their higher endurance level. If you like doing 200s of the strokes, you belong here.

A distance swimmer will almost never be seen doing a race shorter than 200 yards/meters. He or she will always swim races longer than 200, and will call the 200 "a sprint." In workout, the distance swimmer wants sets to be have repeats longer than 200 with little rest. This swimmer loves the two-beat kick and will often do the 400 IM "for fun" because of the ability to effectively do the freestyle leg better than an IMer. Or do the 200 fly because it's not as bad as everyone talks about.

So, which one are you? You cannot be part of two groups at once. You might have started your swimming career as a sprinter then turned to distance, or vice versa. Or you could be a distance swimmer during the summer (for triathlons) and then go to middle distance in short course because the mile has too many turns.

I'm a sprinter. Duh. I haven't swum more than a 400 IM in a race since my teens.

October 25th, 2005, 04:44 PM
Before masters I would definitely call myself a distance swimmer, but lately I've become much more of a middle distance guy. It's difficult for me to put in the yardage necessary to really do well in the distance events. Unfortunately I don't really have the raw speed for the shorter events, so I'm sort of stuck in the middle!

October 25th, 2005, 05:10 PM
most imporant of all ... which group is the most talented?

Jazz Hands
October 25th, 2005, 07:11 PM
Sprinter. I used to do "heart rate go" sets on my USS team. We would swim a 75 or 100, and take our six-second heart rates every 10-20 seconds or so and go when we got under 13 or 12 or whatever. I would be waiting on the wall for five minutes sometimes, getting three repeats done while the rest of the team finished ten. Also, in "lactate tolerance" sets, I would go all out as directed on the first 100 in the set, and then in the middle of the second one suddenly feel very sick to my stomach. I would be lying on deck the rest of practice, unable to swim. That happened nearly every time. But hey, I did pull off a 49.2 followed by a 49.3 in the 100 free at a high school meet once. That's during a single finals session, when I also had to swim the 50 free twice. The next week I went 50.5 and 49.7, though. I was probably still tired.

October 26th, 2005, 11:25 AM
I think the 200 (of any stroke) is the most unpredictable race. In my years of watching swimming, and that being many levels, usually the swimmer who has the lead at the 50 wins the 100. And in races 500 and above, quite often after some early jockeying, the winner establishes their dominance by the 200.

October 26th, 2005, 12:12 PM
originally posted by Keather

most imporant of all ... which group is the most talented?

That's easy....Middle Distance Swimmers of course!!


October 26th, 2005, 02:54 PM
I used to love getting in a pool and swimming until I couldn't swim any more, either because of hunger or fatigue. Now I'm starting to like mid distance. I hate anything that is 200.

October 26th, 2005, 11:30 PM
I have to say distance.

The last time I did a race that was less than 400 yards was in the early-season spring of 1995, and that was a 200 fly.

My shortest race this year was just short of a mile (love them open-water races!)...

October 27th, 2005, 11:01 AM
I really have no idea! lol...

I think it depends on my mood. I'm not the fastes swimmer anyway, but sometimes I really like doing sprint-type stuff, 25's and 50's, I Love IM's (100 or 200, can't take 100 fly.......yet..)..

but sometimes I enjoy sets of 500 or so. It feels like I can just get into a zone and go forever sometimes...

I'm just not consistent I guess.. heh heh.. I'm a woman I change my mind too much! ;)

October 28th, 2005, 12:10 PM
i'm a sprinter

but this season I'm training for the 400 IM and the 500 free
the 400 to see what I can do and
the 500 to whup up on my buddy bork

BUT I would love to start swimming fast 50's and 100's again.
It would be fun to break 22 in the 50 free and 48 in the 100.

To do this I need to

lift weights / get strong
do more sprint work / get fast
work on my kick, starts, turns, and splitting
lose 10 - 20 lbs / get lean and
STOP swimming aerobic sets which makes sprinters puny and weak


October 28th, 2005, 12:38 PM

You are a drop dead 50 man. Get back to your roots. Cut this nonsense middle distance crap.

It's down and back...... That's what its all about. Jet speed, ego and victory.

John Smith

October 29th, 2005, 12:45 AM
Originally posted by TheGoodSmith

You are a drop dead 50 man. Get back to your roots. Cut this nonsense middle distance crap.

Well, he did mention in his blog that he cut a set the other day and instead laid on the bottom of the pool and blew bubble rings. That sure sounds like classic sprinter behavior to me!

November 1st, 2005, 06:39 PM
200 what?

200 free is not *that* big of a deal.
Now, 200 fly, that's distance !!!!

Distance is relative! ;)

November 2nd, 2005, 10:42 AM
Now the 200 fly is just fun ... the 200 breast that's torture ... again, it's all relative ...

November 2nd, 2005, 10:55 AM
Isn't it wonderful how there are different lenghts for different people!

November 9th, 2005, 12:58 AM
Let it be, Let it be......
A 50 for me.

FAST, of course:D

November 9th, 2005, 10:35 PM
I try to live up to the Lane 6 Credo: "When the going gets tough, the sprinters get out".