Let’s take a deep dive into Kate Douglass‘ 3rd breaking of the American and US Open record of the women’s 200 breast. My takeaways:
- We are seeing a revolution in the way athletes are swimming through an entire season. 10 years ago, athletes had more muscle that they could use less, swimming slow in-season only to have a huge taper and drop a lot of time at their championship meet. Today, we are seeing athletes (Leon Marchand, Gretchen Walsh, Kate Douglass) develop functional muscle that they develop throughout a season by racing faster and faster. They still go fast at the end of the season… but they also go fast the rest of the time too.
- Douglass’ start mirrors Caeleb Dressel’s in the “take your marks” phase: instead of using a “straight arm” stance, she bends her elbows toward her, making it easier tp carry momentum through her arms into the water rather than pulling them back then having to push them forward again (what happens when you straighten them).
- Douglass’ consistency is bonkers – her stroke count by 25 is 4,5,5,5,6,6,6,6. In all 3 of her record-breaking swims in this event, her first 50 is obviously the fastest, but then her 2nd 50 is significantly faster than the 3rd and 4th (see below):
- Comparative Splits:
KATE DOUGLASS, 2023 CAVALIER INVITE (CURRENT US OPEN RECORD) KATE DOUGLASS, 2022 TENNESSEE INVITE (FORMER US OPEN RECORD) KATE DOUGLASS, 2022 NCAAS (FORMER US OPEN RECORD) 50m 27.71 27.94 27.84 100m 30.88 (58.59) 30.82 (58.76) 31.14 (58.98) 150m 31.53 31.49 31.56 200m 31.31 (1:02.84) 31.62 (1:03.11) 31.65 (1:03.21) Final Time 2:01.43 2:01.87 2:02.19
- On her last 25, Douglass looked to be tightening up and I was sure she’d take 7 strokes. However, because Douglass was able to keep her stroke length and DPS, taking 6 strokes on the last 25 propelled her to a 31.3 last 50 (as opposed to her other 2 swims where she finished in 31.6).
- Comparative Splits:
I am curious about this “functional muscle” concept. Just guessing from context, does functional muscle mean “muscle that is strong but isn’t necessarily bulky”?
I remember observing/reading the big bulky swimmers are often the big “taper swimmers”, who break down more easily, but have huge time drops with rest.
Obviously, some of this must be natural body type. But, is the idea to focus training in such a way to (1) get strong but (2) not bulky? And thus swim fast all year?
I would venture to say that the technology of suits play the largest role in swimming “fast the rest of the time”.
Diet is another thing. We used to drink beer and eat pizza most of the week. Not very helpful (but tasty), but we didn’t have a lot of info on nutrition then…
As much as I’d love to see a sub 2, I think she will go 2:00 low or mid.
What would the splits look like for a sub 2:00?
Her versatility is epic. Let’s not forget she got 3rd at trials in the 100 fly, will probably be on the Olympic team in the 50 free and might win Olympic gold in the 200 breast. Also almost broke the 200 IM SCM world record. Astounding.
agree but the 50 will be hard for her. the 100 fly i are being possible.
Do you see her making the 50 free? She’s nowhere near top 2 of American women at the moment. She’s much closer to making the 100 fly than 50 free.
How many medals in Paris??
Potentially…2. 3 at a push.
The 200IM. Obviously she needs to make the team first. This event, now, is possibly the race on the US women’s side with the best combo of relative youth, quality, & depth. But her trajectory right now looks promising.
The 200 Breast. The US has some depth & experience here. But nobody is really moving the needle from what she’s already shown in LC so making the team looks like a good bet.
Then some potential to qualify for the relay pool in the sprint free.
*She would be a contender to make the team in the 50 free as well. But the medal odds seem longer. Of course maybe this summer… Read more »
It’s also worth noting that if Claire & Torri double up enough, she might end up as the medley prelims flyer.
2 individuals- 1 relay
Individual? Max 2.
She has a good shot at both the 200IM and 200 Breast but neither is guaranteed even a spot on the team.
She is the third fastest American in the 200 breast in the last three years, and her PB is .6 behind Lazor. Given momentum is in her favour, I would give her a spot and a medal is very possible.
She is the 4th fastest American in the 200IM in the same time period. It will be a battle between her, A Walsh and Hayes. A Walsh is significantly faster and Hayes is slight faster and much younger, so this is a toss up. If she does make the team then she is in… Read more »
The only time I remember Douglass changing her tempo and frequency was the final 50 and especially final 25 in short course worlds final against King. She understood the sense of urgency and powered low. Long 7 strokes to the 175 wall and 8 coming home.
Coleman, Just like Kate, you keep getting better and better!
Can we talk about how these swimmers are suiting up wayyyyyy more than anyone else was ever allowed to back in the day as well? To me it seems like a ridiculous oversight by coaches even just 5 years ago to not realize that dress rehearsals should be way more of a thing. Suits completely change your body position in the water.
When you hear both sides of the argument, I’m pretty shocked that any elite-level coach wouldn’t want their swimmers suiting up regularly (except if cost is an issue, but if we are talking college/pro hopefully it’s not). Completely agree.
The “save your shave and suit” theory is seeming more antiquated by the season for exactly that reason – athletes should be practicing racing in a suit (and even shaved) so that you’re used to it and know what it feels like.
Even the concept of “taper” is totally different now – sure teams will save their “Big Rest” for conference or NCs, but we’ve now learned that a 1-2 day rest can sometimes yield similar results.
Bigger… Read more »
I thought the same the suit argument was settled in 2009. Some teams were practicing in suits to experience the body position back then. The wheel turns slowly I guess
Maybe she should focus on 1/2 breast in long course along with the 2IM. She could probably throw down a good 100 breast in lcm
For the 1 breast in LCM she isn’t that intense and explosive with her strokes.
For the 2 breast LCM she isn’t that endured. This LCM event is longer than the SCY and is as twice more energy consuming requiring almost two times more strokes.
Big pool PB of 2:21.43 set last summer. That’s pretty fast for a swimmer that isn’t “that endured.”
We’re talking about an athlete who just started racing breaststroke seriously a year ago and is already a LCM bronze medalist and SCM world champ…
and also the athlete who nearly made the Olympic team in the 100 fly and DID make the world champs relay in the 100 free. I’m guessing KD could pop off a pretty good 100 breast if she wants to. She’s got plenty of explosives in the tank.
Her endurance has seemed pretty stable at the last 2 LCM summer meets, considering she medaled in 200s at both.
agree. Lilly has the 100 breast nailed. Jacoby is also probably faster