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Vlog the Inhaler, or The Occasional Video Blog Musings of Jim Thornton

200 freesyle NCAA winner mathematically deconstructed

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.
1 Fraser, Shaune FLOR 200 free time of 1:31.70

Junior Shaune Fraser (George Town, Cayman Islands) swam a career-best mark and UF record in the 200-yard freestyle (1:31.70) to capture the first individual national championship title of his career.

first 50, dive assisted: (21.57)

second 50 (23.67)

third 50 (23.25)

fourth 50 (23.21)

If you give the guy 1.5-2 seconds for the start, which may or may not be reasonable, a case could be made for this fellow negative splitting his #1 winning 200 free.

It would be nice to know what his all out 50 time is, but the closest I could find to this was his split in the 400 medley relay the day before, where he swam the freestyle leg:

first 50 (19.87) both dive aided and relay start aided
second 50 22.32 (42.19)

He also lead off the 400 free relay and got these splits:

1st 50 20.40
second 50 22.01 (42.41)

I am going to go out on a limb here and guesstimate that his fastest 50 is right around the high 19s.

To simplify the math, let us say 19.87

Thus his first 50 in the 200 free (21.57) was about 1.7 seconds slower than his fastest all out 50.

We could quibble a bit about this. The range is probably anywhere from 1 to 2 seconds slower.

His second 50 in the 200 free (23.67) was 3.8 seconds slower than his fastest.

His third 50 was about 3.2 seconds slower.

And his fourth and final 50 was about the same, maybe 3.1 seconds slower.


Now, for purposes of projection, let us apply the same basic math to me. My fastest time as a masters swimmer, 6-7 years ago, was 1:55.11, or 1.26 times greater duration than his Shaune's 1:31.7.

Let us call the 1.26 figure the S-J Coefficient, for the "Shuane to Jim Coefficient" or, more simply, SJ.

My fastest 50 this year is 24.53. Let me take Shuane's "slowdown" compared to his own fastest 50 vs. what he took out his 200 in, 1.7 seconds, and multiply this by SJ and we get 2.14 seconds. Add this back to my own fastest 50, and this would suggest that if I swim a congruent race to Shuane's, I will need to go out in 26.67 seconds.

Now we move to the second 50, which in Shuane's case was 3.8 seconds slower than his best. Apply the SJ (3.8 x 1.26) and we get 4.79 and add this to my fastest 50, and we see that I will need to swim my second 50 at 29.32.

Following the same basic mathematical logic, I will need to swim my 3rd 50 at 28.56, and my final 50 at 28.44.

So, I will need to go out the first 100 in 55.99
and come back the second 100 in 57.00...

For a new personal all time best 200 free style swim of 1:52.99.


  1. There is something dreadfully wrong with any math that suggests I could come close to swimming a 1:52.+ unless...
  2. The B70 and/or LZR advantage is really going to help me by providing at least 1 second per 50 and probably a little more or....
  3. I need to factor in a wee bit more Finnish formula age grading wiggle room in the S-J Coefficient...
  4. I am thinking that If I simply add 1 second per 50 here, what might be termed {S-J Coefficient}~Finnish Formula Wigglized, or SJ~FFW, or perhaps even more simply, SJ v.2, then we would have the following splits:

30.32 (first 100 57.99)
29.44 (second 100 59.00

I would be absolutely delighted with this time, but it still leaves an awful lot of dependence riding on the likely soon to be incarcerated swimmer's helper, the B70 flotation device.

Well, let us see how the math proves to be. I have a Y regional meet next weekend, but the 200 free is on the same day that I swim the 1000, a relay, the 50 fly, the 100 fly, and then one event rest before the 200 free. No B70 either.

But perhaps Colony Zones will prove a different story. Time will tell.


Final Note on Above Deconstruction through Precise Application of Math:

  1. It is not an accident that I used red ink to designate Shaune Fraser's excellent 200, and blue ink to designate my less excellent and, in fact, not yet even swum 200. These hues represent the color of our respective bloodstream's after approximately 10 yards into our respective races.

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  1. Bobinator's Avatar
    Hi Jimby!
    I don't think my tech suit really helped me at all. It was comfortable, and alot of people told me I looked like a "real" swimmer.
    I told them I thought I might just start wearing it all day, every day under my clothes.....kind of an expensive foundation garment.
    It might have helped a little in the 1,000 free, but the other 5 events were about what I expected. I think I should have gotten a smaller size.
    Updated March 30th, 2009 at 12:29 AM by Bobinator (grammer)
  2. jim thornton's Avatar
    Interesting. I love the idea of wearing the thing full time. I predict that eventually, you will stop wearing the outside garments and slowly adjust to your new life as a superhero in her superhero costume. I think your students will love it, as, perhaps, will your husband.

    I do wonder if the fact that it wasn't the Nero might have made a difference. I haven't heard of anyone swimming pool races in a non-Nero B70 suit.

    You mention that it might have been too big. I hope this is not too much of a handicap, because my borrowed version is going to be one size too big for me (though at the rate I have been eating, who knows? There is still an interlude of 3 weeks before I swilm. Perhaps it will be too small by then.)
  3. pwb's Avatar
    Hmm. This is interesting. I like the approach. A slightly different version (minus the various add'l factors) would be to look at each 50 as a % of his flat-out 50 (again, assuming 19.87):

    • 21.57 108.6%
    • 23.67 119.1%
    • 23.25 117.0%
    • 23.21 116.8%

    If I were to apply those %s to my best 50 from this weekend (22.1), I should be able to hit 1:42.2. I think that's a great "outer edge" of the realm of possibility for me. Realistically, while my speed is good now, my "endurance speed" (what I think of a 200 as) is probably nowhere near that. A nice goal, though, if I want to be like Shaune.

    Now, I've got to figure out some formulas for Tyler Clary to see what the outer edge of my 400 IM could be.
  4. jim thornton's Avatar
    Patrick, thanks for the excellent contribution to the Amateur Mathematics Wishful Thinking Freestyle Society, of which I am a founding member. I am now prepared to offer you the title of Treasurer if you would like to take on this honor (and why wouldn't you, really!). Your duties involve, A) Guarding the Society's Treasury against pilferage and inflation, and B) establishing the Society's Treasury.

    Welcome aboard!

    As you may have glimpsed, one of the problems (other than the Treasury, of course, which remains an ongoingly nettlesome thorn in my side) we at the Society have long grappled with is our search for what might be termed the "Unrealistically Fast Time Adjustment Coefficient." You referred to this indirectly yourself by describing the "outer edge of the realm of possibility." I referred to it merely as the SJ Coefficient v.2.

    I think what we are finding is that decrepitude is not, as once suspected in a more simple minded era, a linear ruiner of swimming talent, but perhaps is better described by some sort of y = mxsquared +b curve, or perhaps an inverted catenary, or some other kind of thing that picks up ever accelerating steam en route to the bone yard.

    I think this should be one of the Society's primary goals for 2009: to explain mathematically why I can't swim as fast as Shaune, even with all manner of linear correction factors added in.

    I invite you and your fellow armchair mathematician-swimmers to propose your own equations in competition to win what I have just christened the Thornton Prize (any relation to the famous Turing Prize in completely intentional.)

    To wit, if you are in a pool with blinding goggles on, and the "body" in the adjacent lane is either an ancient version of me or a corpse attempting to complete the 200, the winner of the Thornton Prize will be the one who can devise a fool proof test to tell one from the other. Oh, in addition to blinding goggles, nose plugs are also required, not that there is all that much difference.

    A lot harder, I think you will find, than it appears at first.
  5. Bobinator's Avatar
    Hi Jimby!
    I compared my BS suit to another person's Nero....there is really no difference except:
    a) The nero goes below the knee(capri length) and the one I have is slightly above the knee(biker length).
    b) mine had a longer ripcord on the zipper. (I eventually trimmed it short).
    I think I may gain 12-15 lbs. so I can obtain a tighter fit in my bs suit.
  6. some_girl's Avatar
    I just did the math and it gives me a 200 of 2:08.84. My best is a 2:10.84, but that was just in a Pro. Using Patrick's formula a get a 2:09.25, but also I seem to fall off less that Shuane.
  7. jim thornton's Avatar
    I think the formulae give us something to shoot for. Let's face it, pretty hard for a masters swimmer to come anywhere near the stamina of a college gold medalist. Still, we can try!
  8. some_girl's Avatar
    I am still a wee youngster; perhaps that is why I can come closer. Once I am 30 next year though, I am sure it will be over!
  9. jim thornton's Avatar
    Wee youngster chicks rule! Fat dotage-dwelling vloggists drool!
  10. jim thornton's Avatar
    I probably should have updated this before now, nearly three years after first posting it!

    But thanks to the B70, I managed to get my lifetime best 200 SCY freestyle at Colony Zones that year, the only time I have ever gone under 1:55 in the 200, including high school and college.

    2010 Short Course Yards
    Place Event Name Age Club LMSC Time 10 M55-59 200 Free James Thornton 57 TPIT Allegheny Mountain 1:54.89
  11. jim thornton's Avatar
    PS I wish I had the splits!

    Wait! I found them!

    Here they are!

    Leg Cumulative Subtractive 1 26.55 26.55 2 55.39 28.84 3 1:25.44 30.05 4 1:54.89 29.45
    If I'd stuck to the Sean formula, the last 3 50s would have required some order shifting. For me, a wee bit of easing up on the 3rd 50, however, keeps me from total expiration on the 4th 50.