TritonWear Race Analysis: 2018 Commonwealth Games — Men’s 100 Fly

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - APRIL 13: Chad le Clos qualifies for the Olympics during the heats session 100m butterfly for men on day 6 of the SA National Aquatic Championships and Olympic Trials on April 13 , 2016 at the Kings Park Aquatic Center pool in Durban, South Africa. Photo Credit / Anesh Debiky/Swim SA
Photo Courtesy: Anesh Debiky/Swimming South Africa

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The men’s 100m butterfly marked South Africa’s Chad le Clos’ third gold of the meet, with him winning all of the butterfly events. He smashed his own Commonwealth Games record from 2014, and swam half a second faster than he did at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. This win also makes him the first man in history to swim in three consecutive games, winning gold in two of them.

Le Clos took the early lead off the breakout. England’s James Guy was not far behind, and though not as proficient in underwater technique, he managed to match le Clos’ speed on the first 50m. He used a faster stroke rate to catch up to le Clos’ stronger strokes and turn a mere four hundredths of a second behind. However, le Clos’ powerful underwater once again gave him the advantage, as he remained underwater for 1.6s longer, and surfaced a half body length ahead of Guy. This time, Guy’s strokes and speed were not enough to fully close the gap. Their stroking speed decreased by the same rate, and le Clos’ stroke efficiency suffered a bigger decline off the turn, but the lead he gained off the breakout gave him enough distance to finish more than half a second ahead.

Overall, le Clos’ speed and stroking metrics at the Commonwealth Games saw great progress from his performance in Rio. The only metric improvement he missed was his turn time. He transitioned off the wall almost two tenths of a second slower, but made up for this deficit with stronger and faster strokes.

His stroke count per lap remained exactly the same in both competitions, but he generated slightly more distance with each pull on this meet. The marginal increase in DPS while increasing speed, meant he logged in higher stroke index numbers, translating to better stroke efficiency. This efficiency gain could already lead to cutting down his time, but the progress in his metrics did not end there.

Not only were his strokes more powerful and efficient; he also produced them at a faster rate. This is the dream combination: increasing BOTH stroke rate AND DPS for maximal speed gains. On the first lap, he took each of his 17 strokes 0.04 seconds faster than he did in Rio. And although his stroke rate was less consistent and had a larger decrease on the way back as he began fatiguing, it was still faster by 0.02 seconds per cycle (s/cycle). All these improvements contributed to his lower splits and a faster overall time. If he can make this type of improvement in under 2 years at his level, imagine what you can do!

Key Takeaways

Le Clos’ performance highlights the importance of developing individual metrics without sacrificing another, but more so the difference it can make when they come together. Small improvements in each add up to great progress. Le Clos improved his stroke speed without compromising stroke efficiency or power, and vice versa. Instead, he supplemented the increase in stroke rate with an increase in his DPS and stroke index, which ultimately resulted in a significantly better race performance.

To dive into the numbers of each athlete yourself, use the interactive board below to see exactly how they performed across all metrics.

Stay tuned for more race analysis!  Learn More!


  1. Nick Westaway

    OMG really want to see the women’s 100 free