TritonWear and Swim Swam are bringing you the best in swimming race analysis. With the power of TritonWear, you can have an in-depth analysis of your practice every day with zero effort. Today we are having a closer look of one of the fiercest duels of 2012 London Olympic Games.
It was predicted the men’s 100 freestyle final in 2012 could be the race of the Olympics. Australia had high hopes for James Magnussen, who was seemingly unbeatable heading into London. He’d dominated at World Championships the year prior and set the fastest time ever in a textile suit at the Australian trials with a 47.10.
But doubts were raised after Nathan Adrian of the United States beat Magnusson head-to-head on the opening leg of the 4 x 100 freestyle relay early in the competition. While the Aussie qualified first for the 100m freestyle individual final, Adrian’s potential threatened an upset. Other big contenders in the final included Yannick Agnel, who had come from behind on the anchor leg of the relay to propel France to the top of the podium, and César Cielo of Brazil, who already had a number of international titles under his belt.
The final was hyped to be an epic showdown between multiple competitors, but most of all the Australian favorite and the American underdog. When the beep sounded, the swimmers exploded off the blocks and charged down the pool with high stroke rates and powerful kicks. Adrian’s rate was faster at 1.14 seconds per stroke while Magnusson held 1.25 s/str, giving the American a slight edge.
While the field was nearly dead even for most of the first length, some swimmers began to surge ahead coming into the wall. Known for his front-end speed, Cesar Cielo of Brazil was the first to flip in a time of 22.60. He was followed closely by Brent Hayden of Canada and Nathan Adrian in third position. Adrian flipped faster than anyone else at the front of the pack with a turn time of 0.79, launching him into a strong second length.
Magnusson was two-tenths of a second behind the leaders at the first wall, which was still within striking distance; he blasted ahead with a speed of 2.02 m/s to fight Adrian for the win. The last fifteen meters turned into a dogfight, with no clear leader even as they powered into the wall. Magnusson had the advantage in efficiency, but Adrian held a slightly higher stroke rate that made the difference.
It was Adrian who got his head down at the finish and touched in 47.52, managing to secure the victory by the narrowest of margins: 0.01 seconds. In upsetting “the Missile”, he shattered the hopes of the Aussies and became the first American to win the 100 freestyle since 1988. Touching for bronze was the wildcard Hayden, who also made history in becoming the first Canadian male ever to claim a medal in the 100 freestyle at the Olympics.
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Swimming analysis is courtesy of TritonWear, a SwimSwam partner.