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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6 years ago

Totally agree! Would love to see a fast IM, all out, every leg. Great way to develop and improve starts, turns, and technique.

6 years ago

Maybe as a fun showcase, but to add it for real is just tossing yet another bone to sprinters. What about adding 4×200 and or 4×100 IM relays

6 years ago

Why not the 400 IM? Or 400 medley relay for high school?

6 years ago

Ok, but you need to add the 1000 IM. (100 fly, 200 back, 200 breast, 500 free)
Distance swimmers get shorted (pun intended) every meet its always a choice of events and always the worst time… Thursday night and Sunday last.

Just Keep Swimming
6 years ago

My 13 year old would agree. She loves the 100 IM and was sad to swim her last one at her last 12 year old meet!

6 years ago

Aside from the obvious long course thing, I think the 100 IM would be a great event. I could see the benefit of really working on those transition turns too. I read in some of the comments about adding this to HS meets along with 50s for each stroke. I don’t think I would agree with that for a dual meet, but they may be good for an invitational.

Think about the bigger picture
7 years ago

Think about the bigger picture for a moment. The beautiful thing about the sport of swimming is those who are not pre-disposed to sprinting can excel in longer events with hard work, even if they don’t possess the talent.
Yes, the 100 IM would be an awesome and fun race to watch at the college level. However, I fear it would be the death of distance swimming, and perhaps even middle distance swimming. The more you emphasize sprint in college, the more 200’s and up are minimized even more than they already are.
If you add the 100 IM, you’ve got to add a distance oriented race (1000 Free) so the less sprint oriented swimmers are not driven… Read more »

7 years ago

I love the 100 IM! My favorite event. If they’d had this when I swam competitively, I coulda been a contenda!

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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