Is Nathan Adrian The Most Consistent 100m Sprinter in U.S. History? GMM presented by SwimOutlet.com

Gold Medal Minute presented by SwimOutlet.com

While I love 50m free, the 100m is crucial,  the discipline that delivers hardware in the most exciting races of the Olympic Games–the 4×100 freestyle and medley relays.

Nathan Adrian  has won gold in the last three Olympic Games. He has 32 international medals, 20 of them gold. He’s been incredibly consistent, especially in the blue ribbon event, the 100 meter freestyle.

Focusing on 100m free in U.S. swimming history, how does Adrian compare to sprinting greats like Matt Biondi and Gary Hall Jr.?   Biondi (11 Olympic medals) and Hall (10 Olympic medals) tops Nathan (8 Olympic medals) on medal count, but, in my opinion, Nathan’s been more consistent in the 100m free.  It’s that third trip to the Olympic stage where Adrian has the edge, getting on the podium and playing a big role on the relays.

Is Adrian the most consistent 100-man in U.S. history?  What do you think?  

Is the comparison even fair?  Biondi suffered from a lack of NGB financial support during his era.  

Should Jason Lezak be on the list? He made the Olympic podium once in the 100m free, winning bronze, but he was a factor on relays across 2000, 04′, ’08 and ’12, and, of course, his ’08 anchor is the greatest swim of all-time. Maybe Lezak is the most consistent 100-man in U.S. history.  

I’m Team Adrian, but I think a lot readers will challenge my argument.

Lastly, Caeleb Dressel? Does anyone want to look into the crystal ball on this guy? Where’s he going to be by 2024?  I only ask for fun because I did not predict his 2017 Worlds performance. 

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This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.

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Neil
2 years ago

Consistent, nearly to a fault. He can’t seem to crack that 47.7-47.8 barrier, no matter what he goes in-season and whether or not he focuses on the 50m free, which was opposite of what he had done this summer. I think it would just be more beneficial to focus on that 50, since the empirical evidence shows that the 100 time is generally static regardless of approach.

Horninco
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
2 years ago

Via Wikipedia at worlds and olympics
*=flat start on relay or individual

2009 46.79, 47.2, 48.1*
2011 47.6, 47.4, 48.0*
2012 47.9*, 47.52*, 47.4
2013. 47.9*, 47.8*, 46.7
2015 47.4, 47.29, 48.3*
2016 46.97, 46.7, 47.8*
2017 47.0, 47.2, 47.49, 47.78*

9 flat start swims all between 47.5 and 48.3
13 relay swims all between 46.7 and 47.6

That pretty damn consistent over 8 years. I’m not sure you’d call any of those swims disappointing either. He’s not one of those guys that pops a massive relay swim in night one and then fails to final in the individual or never comes close to it again.

PNW
Reply to  Horninco
2 years ago

Cough cough chierighini. Also I totally didn’t have to look that up

Uberfan
Reply to  PNW
2 years ago

What about him? He’s been a 46 on a relay but never touched 47 flat start

sven
Reply to  Horninco
2 years ago

46.60 in 2013. Overall time didn’t count because of the back-breast exchange, but Adrian’s leg was clean.

Horninco
Reply to  sven
2 years ago

That was what I had as 46.7. I think it was 46.66

SchoolingFTW
Reply to  Horninco
2 years ago

Where and when did Adrian swim 47.6 and 47.4 in 2011?

Those are Magnussen’s times from 2011 World Championships. Adrian didn’t crack 48.00 textile until 2012.

anonymoose
Reply to  SchoolingFTW
2 years ago

read again closely. hint: *

Horninco
Reply to  SchoolingFTW
2 years ago

Relays. Rolling start

Neil
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
2 years ago

The 47.52 was 5 years ago at this point, and has proven to be a bit of an outlier in how he has progressed over the years. The plateau of the high 47.xx has appeared to be his capacity as of late, and is Adrian’s regression to his own mean. However, I’m not using this to slight anything he has done–in fact, if anything I am giving praise to the out-of-his-mind swim he had in London to take down Maggie, and his empirical average that he’s produced over the last quad in the 100 free has been better than 99.9% of everyone else during that time. I’d much rather have my money on Adrian who has a PB of 47.52… Read more »

Stats guy
Reply to  Neil
2 years ago

That’s not the definition of what an outlier is

Horninco
Reply to  Stats guy
2 years ago

Q3 + 1.5 IQR and Q1-1.5IQR baby!

Horninco
Reply to  Neil
2 years ago

Neil, he was 47.7 and 47.8 flat start the last two summers. That a flinch off of 47.52. No way you can mathematically call 47.52 an outlier just because he hasn’t done it since. You know what an outlier is? Paul Beidermans 2009 times.

Neil
Reply to  Horninco
2 years ago

.2 is a lot at this level of the 100m free. Difference between Gold, Silver, and Bronze in Rio was that. It would have taken Adrian the task of having to replicate his once in a lifetime race to snatch it. Again, I think I’m coming off incorrectly as critical of Adrian unfortunately. It’s absolutely not a bad thing that he is going 47.7-47.8 consistently, but it is just not exactly in the same class as a 47.5.

Horninco
Reply to  Neil
2 years ago

The difference between 47.52 and 47.78 would not be anywhere close to statistically significant. Consider the 5 years in between too. This isn’t the kid that breaks the world record in the semis and then places 5th in the final either. For example, Paul Biedermann went 1:42 and 3:40 in the 200/400 in 2009. He never got with 2.5 seconds of that 200 free ever again. That’s an outlier. Obviosuly there’s a reason, but that’s an outlier. Take Yannick Angel. He swam 1:43 and 46.7 (relay) in 2012. Was never within a second of those times again (more like .9 to be exact, but still. He went 48.7 and 1:44.2 in 2013. Still very fast, but not close to his… Read more »

SWIMMERGUY
Reply to  Neil
2 years ago

I’ve also noticed that trend in the past few years. Although he’s definitely consistent, he hasn’t seemed to lower his PB in a while. I’m wondering if Durden has a plan to do something about that; all I want is for Nathan to be able to go 47 low or faster. Such a great dude and I really want to see him succeed!

PAC12BACKER
2 years ago

Yes, correct!

Billy Bob Thornton
2 years ago

Agree that Nathan is the most consistent, though I’m often a bit underwhelmed by his times. Dressel’s definitely the best male swimmer in the world and I think he will be for quite a while. Lezak wins most consistent relay swimmer.

sven
Reply to  Billy Bob Thornton
2 years ago

Lezak wins best relay leg ever, sure, but Adrian is consistently amazing on the end of a relay. Dude went 46.60 in 2013 and has gone several other 46’s since. Honestly not sure how Lezak’s numbers stack up as far as consistency, and I don’t know how to factor in the super suits, since they were a thing during Lezak’s years while Adrian only came on the scene at the tail end. Lezak wins longevity hands down (and, it should be said, for now.. If Adrian pulls a crazy anchor in Tokyo we might have to reconsider).

Caeleb Dressel Will Get 7 golds in Tokyo
Reply to  Billy Bob Thornton
2 years ago

Underwhelmed by a 47 100 free?

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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