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Thread: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

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    Very Active Member Spock's Avatar
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    Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    [Full disclosure: I am a pure (i.e. "drop dead") sprinter ]

    Watching Track & Field, I'm always struck how they offer what can truly be described as "pure" sprints: the 100m dash (and in indoors, the 60m). These are races that time sub-10 and sub-7 seconds at the elite level. Yet swimming's shortest race is 21 seconds (for the rest of us, quite a bit more than 21 seconds ...).

    I was speaking with some sprint swimming coaches who agreed that even our "splash & dash" 50 free is not a true sprint ... it's close, but the best sprinters actually back off a tiny fraction from their absolute max to maintain a greater speed overall. At my USMS level, the winning times are in the low 25's. There's no way that's a true sprint -- 25 seconds is not entirely ATP-fueled. And while it's mostly anaerobic, is it entirely? Certainly a sub-10 or sub-7 race would be.

    Time-wise, our 50 parallels Track & Field's 200 rather than their marquee sprint, the 100.

    In my fantasy world, I imagine a 25m race at the international level (swimming through the finish like Track & Field athletes) ... fastest reaction, fastest acceleration, fastest underwater & surface, fastest ABSOLUTE speed.

    Before 1988, our "shortest" Olympic race was the 100m!

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    Very Active Member knelson's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    For one thing a race ending in the middle of the pool would require a completely different timing setup and this would be way too costly at any events except the very highest level. A short course 25 would be fun, though. I've seen it at a few meets as a novelty event.

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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    During the 100m dash the announcer said that Usain Bolt takes 41 steps and everyone else takes about 44. In the 50m free the stroke counts range from about 34-38. If you account for the time flying through the air and the breakout, swimmers don't get into there all out stroke until 3 or 4 seconds into it. In swimming, you are maintain the speed from the start in the very beginning of the race. The beginning of the 100m dash takes a lot of energy to accelerate to top speed. I ran track in middle school and the 100m dash definitely isn't easy even though it's a really short race time wise. I think the 50 free and 100m dash are pretty close in how much energy it requires.
    The clock does not lie

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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    I think a huge reason you don't see this in short course pools is that many venues have a hard time affording enough timing equipment for one side of the pool let alone both. Instead of double pads, You could either move the blocks or the timing equipment, but neither of these are typically logistically feasible for the middle of a swim meet.

    Plus, if masters swimmers are any indication, this nation pretty much hates sprints, sprinting, and sprinters in general, so this would never happen anyway.

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    Very Active Member __steve__'s Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    I thought there is no pacing in the 100M dash, just hit and maintain max speed. In the 50M swim, if I reach top speed anywhere after breakout I would die near the 35 M. For example, I can push 25M 2 sec quicker than I can take a 50 home.

    I'm with spock on this

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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Masters should offer 25's and keep 25 records.
    Let's make it happen.

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    Farewell Lily smontanaro's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Quote Originally Posted by __steve__ View Post
    I thought there is no pacing in the 100M dash, just hit and maintain max speed.
    I don't think there is any pacing, but most sprinters can't maintain their max speed either. I heard one announcer at some point (maybe during the Beijing Olympics) say that's what set Usain Bolt apart from the herd. His speed doesn't fall off as quickly as the other runners. It looks like he's kicked it into another gear, but that's only in comparison to the other runners, who are slowing down.

    I would love to see the measured evidence of this, some sort of velocity v. distance graph for several elite sprinters.

    S

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    Very Active Member Spock's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Quote Originally Posted by fmracing View Post
    Plus, if masters swimmers are any indication, this nation pretty much hates sprints, sprinting, and sprinters in general, so this would never happen anyway.
    Ha! Yet another reason I've never found a masters team that actually sprints!

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    Very Active Member Spock's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Quote Originally Posted by Warren View Post
    In swimming, you are maintain the speed from the start in the very beginning of the race.
    Interesting reply, Warren. I've sprinted for 40 years and I definitely change speeds in the 50 (as Steve pointed out, I'd fry by 20 meters were I to max out effort)

    I find backing off 5% or so after beeakout in the 50m allows me to finish stronger and with a better time. Were it a 10 second race, I'd max out.

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    Arrow Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock View Post
    Interesting reply, Warren. I've sprinted for 40 years and I definitely change speeds in the 50 (as Steve pointed out, I'd fry by 20 meters were I to max out effort)

    I find backing off 5% or so after beeakout in the 50m allows me to finish stronger and with a better time. Were it a 10 second race, I'd max out.
    The fastest you will go in swimming is while you are in the air and right after you hit the water. The elite swimmers take 4 or 5 quick dolphin kicks maintaining the speed they hit the water with, then all they need is a few strokes to get to the speed they need to be at. I agree that backing off a little can give you a faster time. I should have said optimal race speed instead of top speed.

    It takes a lot more work build up to top speed in track. If you look at this video, Usain Bolt takes 12 steps before he lifts his head up. [nomedia="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By1JQFxfLMM"]Usain Bolt beats Gay and sets new Record - from Universal Sports - YouTube[/nomedia] Swimmers get to optimal speed right away.

    What Iím trying to say is that Itís harder and takes more energy to get to top speed in running but easier to maintain and itís easier to get to top speed in swimming but harder to maintain.
    The clock does not lie

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    Very Active Member chaos's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    a "pure sprint" wouldn't start with a dive... and I can't think of a thing more boring than watching a bunch of folks splash like hell for 10 seconds or less.

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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Quote Originally Posted by chaos View Post
    I can't think of a thing more boring than watching a bunch of folks splash like hell for 10 seconds or less.
    There's always the mile...

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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Nadine Day puts on on meet at Danville, IL every Jan with 25's.

    http://ilmsa.com/files/meets/results...e-20100131.htm

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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    There are many sprint results already in our event results database, but you have to know how to look for them.
    "I blame you, James!" - knelson

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    Very Active Member Chris Stevenson's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    We don't do 25s because we aren't 10 years old any more?

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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    At least kids know how to have fun.

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    Very Active Member Spock's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Stevenson View Post
    We don't do 25s because we aren't 10 years old any more?
    I remember hearing a lot of these jokes in the 80s when FINA was considering including the 50 for the first time. And hey Chris, aren't we the same age?

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    Age Grouper in Training jaadams1's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Quote Originally Posted by ande View Post
    Masters should offer 25's and keep 25 records.
    Let's make it happen.

    I could (SARCASM) really see myself sending in meet entries, driving across the state, $$$$ for gas and food and occasionally hotels, or flying across the country to dive in for :10-:11 seconds of racing. Sign me up...
    "Don't be upset by the results you didn't get with the work you didn't do." - K.A. Benthin

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    Very Active Member Spock's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaadams1 View Post
    I could (SARCASM) really see myself sending in meet entries, driving across the state, $$$$ for gas and food and occasionally hotels, or flying across the country to dive in for :10-:11 seconds of racing. Sign me up...
    Well James, it certainly wouldn't be for everybody, but isn't what you're describing what elite track & field sprinters do?

    I fly across the country to race other guys from around the country for 21 seconds. If we got to do another race of 11 seconds, great! Plus, I'd do better!

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    Age Grouper in Training jaadams1's Avatar
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    Re: Swimming : Why no pure sprint event?

    Quote Originally Posted by Spock View Post
    Well James, it certainly wouldn't be for everybody, but isn't what you're describing what elite track & field sprinters do?

    I fly across the country to race other guys from around the country for 21 seconds. If we got to do another race of 11 seconds, great! Plus, I'd do better!
    You are right. This is just my personal view on my competitions. I'd prefer to "get my money's worth" out of a competition. Not necessarily only swimming the longest events, but I don't like to travel across the state to do four 50s and a 100 IM either.
    "Don't be upset by the results you didn't get with the work you didn't do." - K.A. Benthin

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