There’s a fairly old school of thought that a great 200 backstroke should be either even split or negative split. USC backstroke star, Patrick Mulcare, appears to be subscribing to that belief, at least in his dual meet 200 backs this Fall. Out of the 5 times Mulcare has swum the 200 back this season, 4 of them have been negative split. The only time Mulcare didn’t negative split the 200 back this season was at the College Challenge when Mulcare went 1:40.44 to win the event.
When asked whether Mulcare’s negative splitting was a full-time strategy or just something he’s doing while training, USC Head Coach Dave Salo replied “Pat generally goes into a higher gear his last 75 of his 200. Our training focuses on pushing harder into the last 75. I think he just likes to run people down”.
Looking at the breakdown of Patrick Mulcare‘s 200 back splits this Fall seems to back up what Coach Salo said.
|USC vs Cal Poly||USC vs UCSB||USC vs Arizona||USC vs ASU||2017 College Challenge|
|27.48 (53.68)||27.73 (53.43)||27.51 (53.25)||26.89 (52.01)||25.56 (49.32)|
|26.41 (53.24)||26.49 (53.20)||26.04 (52.70)||25.52 (51.52)||25.99 (51.12)|
The noticeable outlier this Fall is his race at the College Challenge, which was also his fastest time going into his mid-season invite, and ranks #2 in the nation this season after the first week of invites. The biggest difference in the splitting of that race is that he took the first 50 out much faster, about 2 seconds faster than the average of his first 50 on his other 200 backs this Fall. His fastest 200 back ever, which he swam at the NCAAs last season, followed the same race strategy as his College Challenge performance this year. Mulcare went 1:37.80 at the NCAAs, so all of his splits were a little faster, but it followed the same pattern.
|2017 NCAA Finals|
One possible explanation for the difference in race strategy is that Mulcare feels more comfortable taking the 200 back out more aggressively when he’s rested. He still pushes the 3rd 50 hard, but he doesn’t build into the finish on the last 50 the way he has been doing at dual meets. At the NCAAs last season, Mulcare finished 3rd and had the fastest split in the field on the 3rd 50, but had the 6th fastest split on the last 50.