4 Reasons why 100 IM should be offered at all swim meets

1. There are already 100s of individual strokes, why not all four:

When you turned 9, there were no more 25s to race. When you turned 13, there were no more 50s (besides the 50 free) and no more 100 IM to race. As swimmers age up, they can no longer compete at these extremely short distances, it is what it is. However, all swimmers at all ages can swim 100s of stroke. Why take away the 100 IM? It is an exciting race for all ages and levels of swimmer, in addition to the fact that it gives beginners and non-IM’ers an opportunity to develop their IM skills at race pace.

Backing in. Chase Kalisz (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

Backing in. Chase Kalisz (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

2. Eliminates stroke advantage:

Unlike the other Individual Medley races, you only get 100 yards/meters to race. IM’ers have race strategies which reduce their exposure on their weakest stroke and maximize their opportunities on their main stroke. The 100 IM is a quick event that is over in the blink of an eye. There is no time to hide your weaknesses or maximize your strengths in the 100 IM. There is enough time in the 200 and 400 IM to pace yourself, to set yourself up, to make a move on your main stroke, but that is all taken away in the 100 IM. The race is too short to put strategy in to it; there is only enough time to focus on a fast tempo for 100 yards/meters. It’s an even playing field for the ultimate sprinters to duke it out!

3. The ultimate sprint event:

The sprinters we are all very familiar with are hardcore 50 and 100 freestylers, with occasional excellence in a 100 of stroke. Those are all excellent sprint events, testing speed, tempo, starts, turns, and natural talent and skill of a singular stroke. That’s just it though…those 100s are only one stroke. The 100 IM is the ultimate sprint event! It not only requires speed, but it also requires versatility and the ability to transition strokes. It requires everything that 100s of stroke require, but it tests them in quick transitions between all 4 strokes.

4. Underwaters and walls: 

Hunter Hitchens, Irvine NovAquatics, national age group swimming standout (courtesy of Mike Lewis, olavistaphotography.com)

Underwaters: Hunter Hitchens, Irvine NovAquatics, national age group swimming standout (courtesy of Mike Lewis, olavistaphotography.com)

Sprint events don’t allow time for mistakes. They require excellent starts, turns, and under-waters. One slip could cost you the race. In sprint events, the start, turns, and under-waters play a more noticeably critical role than in longer events. The 100 IM provides another event that gives swimmers an opportunity to emphasize and focus on unique skill sets such as under-waters and walls, more so than many other, longer events. It’s another event that offers unique racing opportunities, why not add it to the line-up?

The 100 IM is a fun and unique event that should be added to official meet line-ups everywhere. It’s obvious that the 100 IM cannot be an Olympic event, but that’s okay! It has multiple purposes and benefits: it provides a fun, low-pressure racing opportunity for swimmers looking to mix it up; it provides the ultimate test of speed, versatility, and technique; and it would create more enthusiasm for the sport we love. The 100 IM is for the nostalgic swimmers looking back on their 12 & under selves. It’s for the sprinters who want to work on their other strokes. It’s for the IM’ers who need to work on tempo. It’s another opportunity to race that many swimmers would love to have!

Alright swimmers I have made my points, now it’s your turn…Discuss!

Elle Meinholz, headshotContributor Elle Meinholz fell in love with swimming at an early age. Born and raised a Wisconsin girl, she pursued her lifelong dream of swimming as a Wisconsin Badger from 2009-2013. She graduated from Wisconsin with degrees in English and Communications. A year out of college and out of swimming, she is now a full-time Admission Counselor at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Milwaukee, WI. She continues to fulfill her passion for swimming through high school coaching, writing, living vicariously through her younger sister, and getting in a couple thousand yards when time allows. (Twitter: @ElleMeinholz)

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100 IM is a perfect addition to high school swim meets. I think the transitions between strokes and turns would make this event exciting for the swimmers and fans!

Chicago Scott

I’d rather see HS add 200 and either the 1000 or 1650, rather than the 100 IM. Face it, HS is all for sprinters. If you are a better swimmer going long, you might as well skip the HS season and stay with your club team.

Swim dude

I have to disagree. Adding in the 1650 and/or 1000 to highschool meets would be difficult and too time-consuming at best. With the high amount of meets HS swimmers have during season, swimming those races 2 or 3 times a week would neither be healthy nor fast. Also, many HS meets are on weeknights, and adding longer distance races would make these meets last much too late into the evening.

Nc kid

The point is that sprinters already have the rest of the hs meet, why give them yet another event? Distance kids are thrown in a corner for most of the meet, pulled out for the 500, then forgotten again. Just because plebs have a short attention span and don’t like to pay attention for the 10 minutes of a thousand doesn’t make it less artistic.


HS kids have to study, too. Meets would be way too long.


nobody cares about distance man

Cynthia mae Curran

Good point, I swam it in high school because the girls had shorter events than boy swimmers up until 1974. It would be a fun event.


Hmmmm…how about 100 Individual Medley Long Course?

Martínez Machin

Read the article in full again and you will get the answer


The headline says ALL meets – impossible to have 100m medley at a long course meet


once you add 100 im as a standard event to meets, it becomes less fun because it becomes a real event with specific training and effort. in addition, probably the main reason why it is not offered at most meets is because there is zero transfer to long course. 100 im is a short course only event, and all swimmers are training to be the best possible long course swimmers and practice the same strategy in their short course event as their corresponding long course events. also, the elimination of stroke advantage would likely not occur as the flyers/backstrokers would clearly be out much quicker than the breaststrokers. to follow up, stroke advantage is not a bad thing; the great… Read more »

Kirk Nelson

“100 im is a short course only event, and all swimmers are training to be the best possible long course swimmers”

Not only aren’t ALL swimmers training to be the best long course swimmer possible, I’d wager MOST are not. A very large percentage of swimmers only have access to long course training for a few months a year. A decent percentage never has access to long course training at all.


I’d go out on a limb here and say that’s a very USA specific problem. The USA builds most of it’s short course pools in yards because the demand is there, i.e. HS and college swimming, and I don’t see that ever changing. As a result most USA swimmers are probably aiming to make one of those 2 teams if not both, and then maybe if they’re luck and things pan out, go on to professional level. The rest of the world alternates between SC and LC meters mostly, and most of their college level athletic participation does not enjoy the same height of popularity as it does in the USA, they probably aspire to national level swimming from a… Read more »

About Elle Meinholz

Elle Meinholz

Contributor Elle Meinholz has been in love with swimming all her life. Growing up she swam for the Waukesha Express Swim Team and Catholic Memorial High School. The oldest daughter of two former UW-Badger swimmers, Elle went on to college to fulfill her lifelong dream of swimming as a Wisconsin …

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