7 Events At U.S. Trials Where The #3 Seed Is Faster Than 2016’s Winning Time

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

As you’d expect, swimming in the United States has gotten faster as a whole in the five years since the last Olympic Trials in 2016.

Looking specifically at the entry times that earn the #3 seed in each event on the program, 18 of 26 are faster in 2021 than they were in 2016 (excluding the men’s 800 free and women’s 1500 free, which will make their Olympic debut this year).

Highlighting how much faster things have gotten in certain events even more so is the fact that seven #3 seeds coming into the 2021 Trials have an entry time faster than it took to win the 2016 Trials, with six of those coming on the women’s side.

Data provided by SwimSwam’s Barry Revzin.

Event 2016 Winning Time 2021 #3 Seed
Men’s 100 freestyle 47.72 47.61
Women’s 100 freestyle 53.28 53.18
Women’s 100 backstroke 59.02 58.43
Women’s 200 backstroke 2:06.90 2:06.84
Women’s 200 breaststroke 2:24.08 2:21.84
Women’s 200 butterfly 2:06.80 2:06.59
Women’s 200 IM 2:09.54 2:08.84

Out of those seven, the most stark difference between 2016 winning times and this year’s seeds come in the women’s 100 back and women’s 200 breast. The winning time from the 2016 Trials would be seeded seventh in both events.

The men’s 100 breast was also close to joining the list, with the third-seeded time of 59.24 falling just shy of the 2016-winning 59.18.

You can check all of the #3 seeds from the last three Trials below:

Women Men
2012 2016 2021 Event 2021 2016 2012
24.86 24.62 24.44 50 Free 21.62 21.55 22.03
53.94 53.59 53.18 100 Free 47.61 48.74 48.49
1:56.47 1:56.23 1:56.09 200 Free 1:46.21 1:47.10 1:46.45
4:05.50 4:04.55 4:04.60 400 Free 3:47.95 3:46.09 3:47.98
8:25.85 8:24.69 8:26.04 800 Free 7:50.14 N/A N/A
N/A N/A 15:55.25 1500 Free 14:59.94 14:56.17 15:01.31
59.65 59.41 58.43 100 Back 52.75 52.57 53.05
2:07.82 2:08.33 2:06.84 200 Back 1:55.79 1:56.29 1:57.26
1:07.17 1:06.16 1:06.38 100 Breast 59.24 59.65 1:00.26
2:24.62 2:23.69 2:21.84 200 Breast 2:08.16 2:08.89 2:09.72
58.05 57.82 57.06 100 Fly 51.21 51.33 51.69
2:06.93 2:07.59 2:06.59 200 Fly 1:55.77 1:55.09 1:56.06
2:10.02 2:10.35 2:08.84 200 IM 1:57.59 1:58.43 1:58.64
4:37.88 4:35.46 4:36.06 400 IM 4:11.46 4:12.43 4:12.51

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Penguin
1 year ago

I dont think this is an anomaly. People swim more slowly at trials than fans expect. Re: recent article about wave I.

Here’s my hot take (or is it a cold take??): 3rd place in 100 back will be 59.0 at best.

Penguin
Reply to  Penguin
1 year ago

If someone wants to collect data to show the #3 2016 seed vs 2012 winning time and prove me wrong, please feel free. (Im really just trying to not get too excited…. Im already so over-hyped for next week)

Danjohnrob
1 year ago

Under the pressure of Olympic Trials, it’s not surprising that the winning time would not be that fast. I’m sure there will be many top 2 athletes at OT that will not win their place on the Olympic Team with a best time.

Guerra
1 year ago

It’s gonna be a great one!

PVSFree
1 year ago

The evolution of depth in men’s 100 free is insane. 1.14 seconds faster.

Women’s backstrokes, 200 breast, and 200 IM are also insane in their progressions.

CA Mom
1 year ago

It may take under 59 to make the women’s 100 back final, I wonder what it will be in 2024?? Probably sub 58

monsterbasher
Reply to  CA Mom
1 year ago

That is a take.

Mr Piano
Reply to  CA Mom
1 year ago

And by 2048 it will take sub 53!

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 year ago

by 2100 we will be under 40!

dded
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 year ago

Always wondered about that, will there ever come a time when you can’t get faster in, say, the 50 meter freestyle for example? Like, there has to be a limit right? You can’t swim 50 meters in 10 seconds, so will there ever be a 50 meter freestyle cap?

Eldo king
Reply to  dded
1 year ago

Probably already close haha. Record hasn’t been broken in 12 years. Dressel might shave a little off but it’s not gonna get much faster than 20.9. I hope I’m wrong though.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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