Historic Set: An Appreciation and Breakdown Of the Legendary 100 x 100s Of Olympic Champion Mike Bruner

Mike Bruner

A Look and Breakdown Of the Legendary 100 x 100s Set Of Mike Bruner

About eight months before he set a world record in the 200-meter butterfly (1:59.23) and won a second gold medal in the 800 freestyle relay at the 1976 Olympics, Mike Bruner completed an aquatic first – swimming 10,000 yards in under 100 minutes.

It was in the halcyon mid-1970 days of mega-yardage workouts embraced by the likes of American coaches Mark Schubert, Sherm Chavoor and Dick Shoulberg, along with Australia’s Laurie Lawrence.

Early in the 1970s, Marin Aquatic Club’s Rick DeMont, coached by Don Swartz, had been holding splits on 100 yards under a minute on long swims. In a plan to boost the growing profile of his De Anza Swim Club and inspire his swimmers, head coach Bill Rose cooked up a challenge to Bruner that nobody had ever done – average under one minute for an entire 10,000 yards…with a caveat: Should he fail to average under 1:00 per hundred, he would have to stop the set at that point.

With game on, a reported 700 people lined the pool deck to cheer him on. Cronus Watch Co. was also on hand to provide the official timing for the Guinness Book of World Records attempt.

Bruner, a future Hall of Famer, hit the water at about 4 p.m. on Nov. 21, 1975, and emerged successfully after an elapsed 1:39:18.59.

Mission accomplished!

Rose, scheduled to speak at the Western States Coaches’ Clinic and never one to miss a marketing opportunity, rushed to catch a plane to L.A. That evening he related, that as a part of the team’s annual Swim-a-thon, one of his swimmers had done “extra.” He then read off Bruner’s 1,000 splits starting with a 9:47.89 and ending with 9:40.31. (See Rose’s complete log at the end of the story).

Over the years, Rose has frequently coaxed his swimmers to undertake extraordinary challenges. Within months of taking over the Mission Viejo Nadadores in 1992, he inaugurated an annual 50 x 500 on 6:30, an event in which 14-year-old Bart Kizierowski prepared for with a dozen donuts and three quarts of chocolate milk. In February 2004, Nadadores National Team members Larsen Jensen, Justin Mortimer and other swimmers charged through 20 x 1500 meters on 18 minutes.

“According to the world, that 20 x 1500 is the daily thing we do,” says Rose. “Nothing could be further from the truth, but if people want to think of us that way, go right ahead.”

Mike Bruner’s plunge into the unknown (see below) shows the running time and 100 split for each 100 yards swum (with the 1,000-yard splits listed in boldface). Bruner’s average split per 100 was between 59.58 and 59.59 seconds.

Mike Bruner - Workout

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Taylor Jernigan
Taylor Jernigan
1 year ago

That is so awesome. Question, we’re the splits timed as foot touches at the turn, or did he hand touch and then start another? In other words, was this a straight 10,000 swim averaging sub-1:00?

Jim D
Jim D
1 year ago

I remember when Mike did this. always wanted to see these splits but never have before. thanks!!

1 year ago

So it was more of a 10,000 for time? 100×100 makes it sound like he stopped after each 100 and they were on a 1:00 interval.

Perry Lange
Perry Lange
1 year ago

We would do 100 x 100s at Cal back then, but not at this pace! Nort would always come up with something “interesting”.

M. O’Connor
M. O’Connor
1 year ago

thanks for sharing.

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