During my prime of swimming for the University of Lethbridge, my fastest time for the 50 meter freestyle (short course) was 24.59. It’s fun and amazing to watch the world’s best swimmers going four times that distance (and long course too) at the same pace. Even if you’re not a swimming fan, one can’t help but get excited as Michael Phelps shatters a world record.
Phelps broke five world records, including the one above, during the World Swimming Championships last week in Australia. (They ended April 1).
The Washington Post has an interesting article stating that 60% of new swim records have been set in the last two years, while the records set in track-and-field on the other hand, have been much more steady.
The Post’s explanation of how athletes can be improving in leaps and bounds in one sport but not in another boil down to, more funding, better coaching, and an older average age of high caliber swimmers. They say the typical body shape of swimmers has also been changing as of late.
As an aside, a former roommate and teammate of mine competed at Nationals (the Canadian ones) during the same time and won both the 50 and 100 meter freestyle events a seriously awesome accomplishment (even though, it seems to me, he downplays it). Congratulations Richard.