TECHNICAL STRATEGY 2
The information collected for this article comes from World Championships and Olympic results between 2011 and 2017.
Statically speaking, it’s better to come back fast in a race.
In 100-meter and 200-meter races, the swimmer leading at the halfway point went on to win 41.67 percent of the time.
In comparison, the swimmer with the fastest second half won 56.25 percent of the time.
However, not all strokes and events are the same.
In the 200-backstroke, 100-breaststroke, and 200-butterfly, going out fast, the first half was the better strategy.
In all other events, back-half speed had a higher success rate.
An astounding finding regarding the 100-butterfly is that the swimmer who came back the fastest won the race 100 percent of the time.
Conversely, the swimmer winning at the halfway point in the 200-breaststroke, won zero percent of the time.
Swimmers (with the top three fastest first half splits) went on to win medals only 60.42 percent of the time, while 67.36 of swimmers (with the top three fastest second half splits) went on to win medals.
In the 100-butterfly and 100-freestyle, the back half is the key to winning as we’ve seen Phelps run down the field time and time again to win the 100-butterfly.
In the 100-butterfly and 100-freestyle, back-half swimmers win medals 83 percent of the time, compared to front-end speedsters who place top three 44 percent of the time.
In the 100-backstroke, front-end speedsters win medals 72 percent of the time, compared to back-half swimmers who place top three 56 percent of the time.
In the 100-breaststroke, front-end speedsters win medals 83 percent of the time, compared to back-half swimmers who place top three 50 percent of the time.
In the 200-butterfly, back-half swimmers win medals 83 percent of the time.
In the 200-backstroke, back-half swimmers win medals 72 percent of the time.
In the 200-breaststroke, the first place swimmer at the 100 never won at the 200.
In the 200-freestyle, first-half swimmers versus back-half swimmers have an equal advantage.
In general, a more even split (first half versus second half) is better. However, there are advantages to leading a race, including no turbulence and splashes from surrounding swimmers.
Your mission is to write down everything you learned from reading this article as it applies to your top four events. If you never race the 200-backstroke (for example), there’s no need to write anything down. Include how you plan to use these invaluable insights going forward.