Disclaimer: Dolfin 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 Dolfin 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.
At the 2019 World Championships, Russia’s Vladimir Morozov went 21.53 in the 50 free, taking fourth. Just a few weeks later at the Singapore World Cup, he went 21.27 to become the 10th-fastest performer of all-time.
Many are questioning that disparity, wondering why Morozov would be so much faster in a much less prestigious meet. There are a few outside factors being ignored in that discussion (the chop, alone, from the 7 other athletes in the Worlds final probably account for a good portion of the 0.26-second time difference; illness could have had an affect on Morozov’s World Championships meet as it did for several other key athletes; the 50 free’s placement on day 6 of the intense, draining meet also probably had an effect). But the comparison also brings up an interesting quirk of high-level swimming: namely, money vs prestige.
The World Championships do give out prize money for top finishes. If Morozov had been 21.27 at Worlds, he’d have taken silver. That would be worth $15,000, based on the prize money format – not a bad paycheck for 21 seconds of work.
The World Cup pays less money for that swim alone, but offers some even bigger checks down the road. Morozov earned $1,500 for his 50 free win in Singapore. But the 950 FINA points it equates to also put him in line for the meet performance bonus of 24 points. Points in the cluster add up for cluster bonuses, and Morozov is almost assured the first cluster bonus on the men’s side. That amounts to a whopping $50,000. If he can continue his dominance over the next two clusters, Morozov could win $150,000 as the series champion.
Maybe World Champs has the prestige. It’s hard to argue with that. But maybe $200,000+ in prize money can buy you prestige, too. We’ll have to look into the conversion rates.
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