Lochte? Feigen? Coventry? Sub-5:00 500 Back Mystery Solved

Retta Race
by Retta Race 60

October 13th, 2015 Club, News, Training

Swim nerds everywhere got into a frenzy last week upon reading a tweet from Olympian Ryan Lochte‘s training group, @SwimMACElite.  In fact, the post highlighted SwimSwam’s ‘Top Ten Tweets of the Week’ at the number four spot, due to its secretive puzzle.

The tweet, alluding to an incredible feat accomplished in an everyday practice for the world-class athletes based in Charlotte, North Carolina, read as follows:



For the past week, SwimSwammers fired off their guesses as to who the owned sub-5:00 500 yard backstroke in-practice performance. ‘MARKSTER’ simply responded to the post with “My guess is Clary”, while other readers got more specific.  ‘@HollywoodinDC’ submitted a blanket time of 4:53.57, while yours truly (@RettaRace) threw out a guess of 4:57.60, each not associating the time with a particular swimmer.  ‘SWIMDOC’ came out with yet another plot twist-guess of, “Who says it was a guy?  What about Coventry?”

Heading straight to the source, SwimMAC Elite Assistant Coach Christie Shefchunas was able to give SwimSwam and our readers the answer.  And the answer is…..both Ryan Lochte and Tyler Clary clocked sub-5:00 500 backstrokes in practice last week.

We’re told the two performed the achievement as part of a 3-round monster set, with 1300 yards a round, each with a 500 backstroke as the ending swim.  The first round had the 500 as ‘strong build’, second round had it as ‘stronger build’, while the third round was to be at ‘race’.

Both Lochte and Clary threw down their incredible times of 4:44 and 4:56, respectively on the third round of the set. That’s averaging 56.8 per 100 for Lochte and 59.2 per 100 for Clary.

Now, the next mystery to be solved is how we mere mortals can replicate their performances.


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Lochte beating Clary by 12 seconds in distance backstroke. Interesting


Sally Save-Up?

bobo gigi

In yards no surprise Lochte beats Clary with he quality of his underwaters. And in 500 yards there are a lot of underwaters.


Yep, this is the answer. Although Clary was a 1:37.58 in his 200y Back at one point, Lochte’s underwaters are what likely helped him beat Clary. Everything else about their backstroke power is likely equal in terms of kick, pull, and overall technique.

Plus you’ve gotta factor in where each is at in their training, how they felt that day, etc. Pretty interesting to think about.


Also Clary’s best time was in the super-suit year.


I don’t think Clary will defend his title next year. In fact he faces a high possibility of not even making the team.


My first thought!


Isn’t that 1500 yards a round?


(800 unknown swim+500 backstroke) x 3 was the set for 1300 yrd rounds, 3900 yrd set

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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