Disclaimer: Blueseventy Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The blueSeventy Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
Before this week, the fastest women’s 100 free split in world history was 51.59 – barely more than a tenth faster than the 100 free world record from a flat start.
That relay split time was plenty fast, relatively speaking, when it was done. When Australia’s Cate Campbell split 51.5 at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, 52-second individual times were rare. In the years since the ban of the super-suits, Campbell’s 52.33 from 2013 was the fastest 100 free time in the world, and only four women had broken 53 seconds since the suit ban.
But boy have times changed.
In the calendar year 2018 alone, 9 women broke 53 individually, and one – Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom – broke 52 individually. The world record was lowered (courtesy of Sjostrom) to 51.71, and Campbell’s relay split record was looking like a relic from a bygone era.
Until this week.
In her first Commonwealths performances since that 2014 season, Campbell blasted a 51.00 anchor leg for Australia, helping her team break the world record in the 4×100 free relay (3:30.05) and setting a new high-water mark for 100 free speed in the same way her 2014 swim did.
Based on that stellar split, and Campbell’s propensity to swim very well in domestic competition, we could be seeing another assault on the individual 100 free world record later this week on the Gold Coast.
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