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The TritonWear Race Analysis for the men’s 200m freestyle featured an exciting race between the Australian duo of Olympic champions Kyle Chalmers and Mack Horton. Chalmers and Horton both used a strong back half to swim 1:45s in the final. They finished ahead of the British duo of Duncan Scott and James Guy.
Ian Thorpe’s 200m freestyle Games record remained untouched, but Australia’s Kyle Chalmers swam an impressive race.
Chalmers had an inconspicuous start. His speed and split were average on the first lap, but fell behind heading into the 100m. This placed him in seventh off the halfway turn. It was on the back half of the race where he turned things around, dropping his split by almost a full second on the third 50.
Overall, Chalmers employed a strategy of higher DPS and stroke index with a slower stroke rate. The second lap saw a drastic decrease in his stroke rate, and though he simultaneously lengthened his strokes, he generated one of the slowest speeds on this lap.
This appeared to be his way of saving energy and gearing up for the finish as he suddenly increased his stroke rate at the halfway point, without losing much of his stroke efficiency. He did pull shorter, less efficient strokes in the final lap. But with a final burst of energy, he also managed to speed up his strokes at an even faster rate, offsetting the efficiency loss, leading him to outtouch Horton to the wall.
On the lanes beside him, Scotland’s Duncan Scott and England’s James Guy had a tight match going on. Scott and Guy’s speed and stroking metrics (DPS, stroke index, and stroke rate) were not far off from each other. But while Scott had better stroke efficiency, Guy pulled his strokes at a faster rate. His faster strokes gave him the lead over Scott for most of the distance, but he was not able to hold Scott off to the end.
Scott swam at a faster speed than Guy after the halfway turn, and while Guy managed to pull a higher DPS on the third lap, he was not able to maintain it the entire 100m. He rushed through his strokes off the final turn, increasing his stroke rate but also losing a great amount of stroke efficiency. This was all it took for Scott to beat him for a podium finish by a tenth of a second.
Chalmer’s performance demonstrates the importance of race strategy and stroke efficiency. Chalmers generally had high stroke index numbers, indicating good stroke efficiency. Though he took his time with each pull, the distance he produced with each stroke ensured he didn’t lag too far behind despite his slow stroke rate. It was just enough for him to properly pace himself so that he could speed up his strokes and charge through the second half of the race. Going out too fast in the beginning could have fatigued him into losing his advantage. At the same time, less efficient strokes at the rate he pulled would have put him too far behind to pull ahead in the last lap.
To dive into the numbers of each athlete yourself, use the interactive board below to see exactly how they performed across all metrics.