Goldilocks: Cam McEvoy’s Stroke Rate “Just Right” in his 21.06 50 FR at World Champs



  • World Record: 20.91 — Cesar Cielo, Brazil (2009)
  • Championship Record: 21.04 — Caeleb Dressel, United States (2019)
  • World Junior Record: 21.75 — Michael Andrew, United States (2017)
  • 2022 Winning Time: 21.32 — Ben Proud, Great Britain

Top 8:

  1. Cameron McEvoy (AUS) — 21.06
  2. Jack Alexy (USA) — 21.57
  3. Ben Proud (GBR) — 21.58
  4. Isaac Cooper (AUS) — 21.70
  5. Ryan Held (USA) — 21.72
  6. Jordan Crooks (CAY) — 21.73
  7. Kristian Gkolomeev (GRE) — 21.82
  8. Leonardo Deplano (ITA) — 21.92

Cam McEvoy won the men’s 50 freestyle at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka with a sizzling. 21.06. He was dominant in the race, winning by a little over half a second. On top of that, McEvoy’s performance marked a new Australian and Oceanic Record in the event.

We’ve published technical analysis of McEvoy’s freestyle in the past few months, but what exactly made him so fast in Fukuoka. To help answer that question, “RPSportScience” posted some very interesting race analysis on their Instagram account. Their post goes over a number of things, including swimming speed at various points of the race, stroke rates at various points, stroke length, number of strokes, and splits at different points.

For this analysis, I really want to focus on the stroke rates and stroke length, which go hand-in-hand to some degree. Quickly, stroke rate and stroke length are related in that the longer a stroke is, the longer it will take to complete a stroke, as the hand has to follow a longer path to get back to its starting point. Of course, stroke length isn’t the only thing that dictates stroke rate, however, in a 50 free, everyone is going to be utilizing a very fast stroke rate, so length does become a very significant factor.

Now, let’s get down to the details. As you will have noticed in the data above, McEvoy’s stroke rate and stroke length fell right between Jack Alexy and Ben Proud, the other medalists in the event. McEvoy was basically exactly in the middle of Alexy and Proud in terms of stroke rate, with proud having the fastest rate and Alexy, the slowest. Another interesting data point from that graph is that McEvoy was right between Alexy and Proud in terms of his ability to maintain his stroke rate through the 50. McEvoy’s rate only slowed by 0.5 cycles per minute over the back half of the race. Meanwhile, Alexy’s rate slowed by nearly 2 cycles per minute over that stretch, while Proud actually sped his rate up a bit.

Moving on to the stroke length graph, once again, we find McEvoy right in the middle. It doesn’t come as a surprise to see that Proud, the swimmer with the fastest stroke rate, had the shortest stroke of the 3. By the same token, Alexy, the slowest rate of the 3, also had the longest stroke. McEvoy, right in the middle on stroke rate, is between them on length as well.

As we would expect, McEvoy was right between Alexy and Proud in terms of the number of stroke he took as well. McEvoy took 36 strokes in the race, 1 less than Proud’s 37, and 2 more than Alexy’s 34.

What does all this mean? Well, the simplest answer is that McEvoy has found an exceptional balance between his stroke rate and his hold on the water.

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Asher Green
4 months ago

I wish that everyone would stop using “Goldilocks” in reference to an optimum range. It was Baby Bear’s stuff that was just right. Goldie just committed B&E.

4 months ago

Not taking anything away from Dressel, but his times correlate to his incredible that is a key component in a 50, he is incredible!!.Cam has a quick start but pretty average as far as any advantage. His 21.0 is all swimming. We all saw Dressel short course..the Leon of sprints:) as far as underwaters!

4 months ago

David Curtiss should watch his videos on how to keep his head still lmfao

4 months ago

It was an excellent swim. But I’m lowkey laughing at how Dressel was churning out 21.0s for fun, and nobody was as mesmerized with his 50s as they are with this one. I guess it’s because of the comeback story with McEvoy.

Steve Nolan
4 months ago

You sure about that

4 months ago

It might be because his 21.0s looked like they were a natural consequence of his otherwordly start and underwaters, whereas Cameron’s 21.0 comes more from the speed he’s able to gain/maintain in the end of the race, so during the race you actually see Cam slowly but surely pulling away whereas Caeleb was already at such a huge distance when he emerged at the 15m mark
The fact that Cameron also seems to have come out of “nowhere” since Tokyo/Budapest plays a big role

4 months ago

Dressel swam 3 21.0s in total. Not sure I’d call that “churning them out for fun”.

And everybody was talking about his 50 in Tokyo and how dominant it was. Cam’s was faster than Dressel’s Tokyo swim. Some people are big mad that Cam is being praised and it’s so odd

4 months ago

Your memory tells you that Dressel was not revered as a god of the water when he went 21.0? My memory tells me something different.

Reply to  Braden Keith
4 months ago

He was doing it with a packed schedule too

Reply to  IM FAN
4 months ago

Yes, you wouldn’t call Cam’s schedule packed!!!

Get Real
4 months ago

“Churning out”? He’s done it three times: 21.04 twice (2019; 2021) and 21.07 (Olympic final in Tokyo).

Fukuoka Gold
4 months ago

Because Cam McEvoy 50 is not like most sprinters

It’s the most elegant, cleanest, and smoothest low 21 50 I’ve ever seen.

Fukuoka Gold
4 months ago

“Dressel was churning out 21.0s for fun”


4 months ago

Churning 21.0s for fun? He only did it 3 times no? And I’m pretty sure people were hella hyped by those swims

Last edited 4 months ago by Justhereforfun
4 months ago

His stroke just looked perfect. Right down the middle, no head movement, seemingly hydroplanning over the water with seemingly no wasted motion at all. It was an immaculate swim

Last edited 4 months ago by IM FAN
ncaa fan
4 months ago

Cam collects video, speed, and power data in practice, so I can’t imagine this is a coincidence.

Reply to  ncaa fan
4 months ago

I love the fact that so many people downvote this? 🤣 literally no one that’s achieved anything at any high level hates on others.
Y’all bunch of haters

Reply to  Sam
4 months ago

…I’m sorry, did you just say that nobody who achieves anything at a high level ever hates on anybody?

I have an inbox full of evidence to the contrary lol.