Maybe the Sprinters Were Better

Excerpt by Georgia Tech's Chris DeSantis, originally published on SwimmingWorld.TV

ATLANTA, Georgia, November 13. IN the past year, the swimming community has been inundated with furious arguments about swimsuit technologies. One of the primary arguments used against the latest generation could be summed up thusly: the current generation of swimmers were obliterating times from previous eras, and gosh darnit, they just couldn't be better than the greats of the 80s and early 90s. Attention for better or worse was focused most intensely on sprinters, mostly owing to how ferociously they cut down previously untouchable records. People who made the above argument naturally came to the logical conclusion that there must be something special about the "suits" that made sprinters faster. In just three swims this past weekend, Nathan Adrian made the first tear in this argument.

Adrian recorded a 19.19 50 freestyle alongside a 42.77 over 100 yards, then split 18.65 on a 200 freestyle relay. Now, a doubting Thomas (a term one coach used not so affectionately in regards to me) would likely make the following counter argument: it's November! For all we know, Nathan Adrian could have been fully shaved and tapered for the triple distance meet with Stanford. I, however, highly doubt that. Slightly more probable is that he was merely at a stage in his training whether by chance or design that allowed him to perform near his peak. However, there is a good chance that we will see Nathan Adrian swim significantly faster in March.

There is no doubt that this is the fastest sprinting performance we have ever ever seen at this juncture. The times approach even the fully "suited" mid-season rest performances last year by sprinters like Adrian and Matt Targett. So were the sprinters really helped disproportionately over the last couple years, or did sprinting worldwide just get a whole lot better?

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