View Full Version : WR in Time Trial

Steve Ruiter
January 19th, 2006, 12:54 PM
Cant remember where I read it, but I heard that someone is petitioning to have Popov's 50 LCM Free world record expunged since it was done in a time trial.

I disagree. If it was done legally, it should stand as a WR.

Meets are there to crown champions and award medals etc under race circumstances, but the pool and the clock are there all the time, taking on all comers.


Frank Thompson
January 19th, 2006, 03:38 PM

This has always been a controversial issue. The first time I heard about petitioning not to have time trial swims to count toward World Records was back in 1984. Peter Williams broke the World Record in the 50 Meter Free and in the press Tom Jager did not think it should have been counted because he did not perform the swim in race like conditions. As I remember FINA was suppose to make a decision on this but by the time they did, Tom Jager had alread broken the World Record and it was a moot point. I am not sure if they ever took the record off the books.

Rowdy Gaines, had broken the American Record of :49.99 held by Jim Montgomery in 1980 with a time of :49.61 in a competitive USS swimming meet. The next time he broke the American Record was at a time trial after the Longhorn Invitational in April 1981 and he went :49.47 for a new American Record but fell short of the World Record of :49.44 by Jonty Skinner of South Africa. On his second attempt at the time trial he went :49.36 and set the World Record which stood until Matt Biondi came along in 1985. I believe Mr Goodsmith (John Smith) who is a frequent vistor here swam next to Rowdy at the time trial when he set the World Record. I don't remember anybody protesting or petitioning this record because it was in a time trial format after a swim meet.

The next time I remember World Records in a time trial atmosphere was the 1991 Sprint Races for prize money that was on TV from Nashville. It featured 4 of the best sprint swimmers in the world at that time. I believe they were Adam Schmidt, Steve Crocker, and of course Matt Biondi and Tom Jager. With swim off eliminations it came down to Biondi vs Jager. Tom Jager was the current World Record holder for the 50 Free before the final showdown with Biondi with a time of :22.12.

In one of the swims before the final show down, Tom Jager went :21.98 for a new World Record. In the final swim, Tom Jager and Matt Biondi swam a lane apart. In the final both swimmers broke the Word Record that was just hours old. Matt Biondi went :21.85 and Tom Jager went :21.81 and that record stood as an American Record until Gary Hall Jr. broke it at the Olympic Trials going :21.76. Two months prior to Hall's swim Alex Popov went :21.64 in a time trial in Russia.

I remember in an interview about 5 years ago in European Swimming Times, Editor Kelvin Juba asked Popov if he felt guilty about setting the WR in a time trial. He said no and mentioned the Nashville swims as a time trial like setting for both Biondi and Jager. He said he would have been the World Record holder in 1992 from the Barcelona Olympics because his :21.91 was the fastest competition swim ever excluding the Nashville final. Since that swim in 2000, I have not heard of anybody doing World Record swims in time trials or even people attemping them. I believe FINA will not erase the record because its been over 5 years and probably cause an international controversy because there have been time trials that have counted toward World Records.

I do believe that if the FINA member nations petition in the future not to have time trial World Records and have them only in competition then it will possibly change otherwise it won't.

January 19th, 2006, 03:42 PM
Ian Crocker broke the 50 BU WR in a time trial sometime last year, only to have Roland Schoeman break it in Montreal last summer. I believe the criteria for a WR is with the accuracy and set up of the timing system, witnesses (back up) at the timing table, and accurate method of submitting paperwork. The petitioner would have to have some kind of evidence that the set up, back up, and submission was inaccurate.

Frank Thompson
January 19th, 2006, 03:52 PM
Thanks Patrick. I was unaware that Ian Crocker did that in a time trial. I wonder if there are others out there. Perhaps in the Short Course Meter format after World Cup competitions. With this swim taking place recently then I think it won't be changed.

By the way Peter Williams was from South Africia and they were not permitted in the Olympics for years and that is why people probably don't remember him back in 1984.

January 19th, 2006, 03:59 PM

I remember it happened on a Sunday when they had the Texas Swim Center set up long course for the week, and I believe the club and varsity members were trying to get maybe National LCM cuts. I'm thinking it was in April or May last year.

Apparently with the urging of several teamates Ian got up there and swam the 50 (I think he went a :23.02?). I heard about it when I got to practice on Monday, checked the texasports website and it was up, and then I emailed the link to swiminfo, where it displayed later that day.

Frank Thompson
January 19th, 2006, 04:20 PM

Sounds like the Austin is the place for time trial World Records and why not. I swam there once back in 1988 because they hosted the USMS Short Couse Nationals and it was a very fast pool. I had some of my best times at that meet. Hopefully some day they will have a National meet back in Austin. I wonder how many other World Records have been from time trials recently? It would be interesting if there are others out there. Maybe someone can remember some more.

Jeff Commings
January 19th, 2006, 04:59 PM
It's funny that Tom Jager protested the setting of Peter Williams' world record in a time trial, then set the world record in a time trial seven years later.

Frank Thompson
January 19th, 2006, 05:15 PM

I thought the same thing myself. I remember Matt Biondi saying that he thought that Tom Jager got hosed by having that time trial record replace his record because Peter Williams swam by himself with no competitors ideal for swimming conditions. When they both swam at Nashville, its was 1 on 1 so the conditions were a little different but more like a time trial then a championship race situation. I think at the time no one was thinking about that because it was the first time they ever had a race for cash on national TV. They had a couple with Mark Spitz the next year but it didn't have the excitement of the Nashville one. I don't believe there has ever been another national TV race like this since here in the USA.

January 20th, 2006, 06:37 AM
I was there in the stands, I think it happened a week after 1981 NCAA's

on his first attempt Rowdy went out too hard, it was exciting to watch

at the same time trial William Paulus broke the world record in the 100 m fly think he went 53.87


Originally posted by Frank Thompson

Rowdy Gaines, had broken the American Record of :49.99 held by Jim Montgomery in 1980 with a time of :49.61 in a competitive USS swimming meet. The next time he broke the American Record was at a time trial after the Longhorn Invitational in April 1981 and he went :49.47 for a new American Record but fell short of the World Record of :49.44 by Jonty Skinner of South Africa. On his second attempt at the time trial he went :49.36 and set the World Record which stood until Matt Biondi came along in 1985. I believe Mr Goodsmith (John Smith) who is a frequent vistor here swam next to Rowdy at the time trial when he set the World Record. I don't remember anybody protesting or petitioning this record because it was in a time trial format after a swim meet.

January 20th, 2006, 09:39 AM
ande and FranK:

OK I'm getting my meets mixed up.

In 1980, before the USA announced the Olympic boycott, Spring Nationals were held at Texas and the set up was long course--correct? And at that meet Rowdy broke the WR in the 200 (1:49. something). Plus there were several other fast times including if I'm not mistaken--Per Ardvidsson (Sweden/SMU?) broke Spitz's 100 BU record by going a 54.10? Did he do that in prelims--was it broken again at finals? And didn't Bruce Stahl break the 50 WR at this meet? Sterkel in the women's 50 too--maybe this was the event where the women's 50 got broken twice in the morning and once in the evening?

Now the 1981 meet--I remember Paulus breaking the 100 fly record, and Gaines going the :49.36, yet don't remember it being in a time trial. Which meet did Meagher break the women's 100 fly--a low :59?

My mind is water logged!

Frank Thompson
January 20th, 2006, 02:21 PM

Its very easy to get water logged because you had people setting World Records/US Open Records but not American Records and you had people setting records in the prelims but going slower in the finals and losing to someone else. Then you had the time trials at the end of the 1981 Longhorn Invitational, which I believe had 3 people set World Records. After seeing what everybody provided, Texas Swim Center is indeed the capital of time trial World Records.

At the 1980 meet there were no time trial records. Rowdy Gaines set the World Record of 1:49.16 winning the National Championship and breaking the previous record held by Sergei Kopliakov of Russia at 1:49.83 set in 1979. Rowdy also set the American Record of :49.61 at this same meet. Par Arvidsson did break the World Record/US Open Record that was held by Joe Bottom at :54.18 set in 1977 but Joe still held the American Record because Par was from Sweden. Mark Spitz held no records during this time because Joe Bottom broke his 100 Meter Fly World Record that was set back in 1972 at :54.27. The last record I believe Mark Spitz had was the National HS 100 yard Fly record of :49.1 set in 1967 and that was broken by Dave Wilson in 1979 making it one of the longest HS records.

1980 was the first US National Meet that FINA recognized World Records in the 50 meter Free even though the event was not offered at either the World Championships or the Olympics. Jill Sterkel went :25.96 to win the National Championship and set the first World Record that FINA recognized. Bruce Stahl set a World Record in the prelims of :22.83 but lost the in the finals to Gary Schatz who did :22.86 and that is it for this 1980 meet.

In 1981, there were 3 time trial and 2 competition World Records. Rowdy's time trial has already been discussed. William Paulus did break Par Arvidsson World Record in a time trial going :53.81 which was much faster than he did in the individual event he won going :54.34. The other time trial World Record was set by Jill Sterkel breaking her own previous World Record set in the individual event at the this meet going :25.79, which was faster than the World Record of :25.95 set in this competition which was .01 faster than the 1980 time.

The last competition World Record from the 1981 meet was by Mary T Meager breaking the 100 meter Fly World Record of :59.46 that was set by Andrea Pollack of East Germany in 1978. Mary T time of :59.26 from this meet was the record until 1981 :57.93 at Brown Deer which lasted 18 years.

Frank Thompson
January 20th, 2006, 02:25 PM
I forgot to put Par Arvidsson time from 1980 which was :54.15 breaking Joe Bottom's record by .03.

January 24th, 2006, 12:55 AM
This is awesome stuff. Do you have these results written down somewhere, or are you going by memory?

Frank Thompson
January 24th, 2006, 10:38 AM

Most of this stuff is memory. I did look up the two Austin meets because as Patrick said there was a lot of confusion about the competitive swims vs time trial swims. Thru the years I read the swim publications and one of the hot topics is time trial swims for World Records. I am not sure if this is an accurate statement but I think the swimming community does not like this because they want to see it in competition.

Popov brought up a very good point in that he was the first person to go under :22.00 in the 50 Free in a competitive meet because the Nashville swims were more like a time trial so he didn't feel guilty doing his because others had done it before. Roland Schoeman has the fastest 50 Free in a competitive meet and he may not go faster than :21.64 and so that is why people want to petition this. Like I said before the swimming federations will have to petition FINA to get this changed otherwise its still going to happen.

Just think if someone broke one of Michael Phelps records in a time trial instead of a competetive meet, what would people think? Just think if Kate Ziegler broke a couple of Janet Evans records in a time trial, what would people think. Janet Evans is quite possibly could break Mary T Meager record for time of a World Record which would exceed 19 years in one of the 3 long course events she has the World records because that time is approaching.

January 24th, 2006, 12:33 PM
It seems to me the 50 meter long course free is the event LEAST likely to benefit from a time trial. There are no turns and anyone who's going to set a world record will be in the lead or very near the lead for the entire swim so they will be minimally affected by other swimmers in the pool.

Frank Thompson
January 24th, 2006, 01:42 PM

I agree with you that the 50 LC Meter Free would be the event least likely to benefit from a time trial but only if certain stipulations were met. If you had the pools that the Olympics, World Championships, and NCAA swim at and the type of competitors that swim in these type of championships, then your arguement might stick. These types of pools are deep and no shallower than 7 feet. They also have superior gutter designs where there will be minimal wave action and surface turbulence. Without this you will have choppy water creating a surface that will be slow affecting a swimmers progress rather than a nice calm pool of the same type not creating these difficulities. Also if you did not have adequate lane lines and have swimmers with different abilities like a lot of Masters meets, then a swimmer will be fighting backwash of the leading swimmers.

I think a lot of the time trial debate has to do with the psychology of the swim. What Tom Jager said 20 years ago is that if you are all alone swimming a 50 Free with no psychological pressure you get in a competitive meet situation, then you will have an advantage over someone swimming in competition with 8 people. Don Schollander said in 1964, that even leading off a relay to comparing someone in a competetive swimming situation you will have a competitive advantage because of the psychological pressure. Two different swimmers, 20 years apart and same response.

It would be interesting for someone like say, Gary Hall Jr. to analyze this because he swims in a lot of situations like this with the fastest swimmers in the world and see if he feels there is a difference than swimming alone in a time trial. The reason he would be good is I am sure he has been timed in a trial and he would be able to assess the situation better with the factors I discussed. He has also come close to the World Record but that was in a competitive swimming situation. Would he have gone faster than :21.76 back in 2000 if he swam all by himself in the center of the pool at IUPUI and break the World Record of :21.64