Have you seen Ruta Meilutyte’s new Twitter profile picture?
Can you train this? Is this sort of explosiveness off of the blocks and reaction time just a natural ability? If it’s teachable, we should all be teaching it. It’s hard to make out exactly who else is in this picture, but this is Meilutyte against a world class field. She’s already got half-a-body length lead about half-a-second after the buzzer was sounded to start the race.
This is an incredible visual representation of just how great her starts are. In Barcelona, she was off the blocks on average a tenth of a second faster than her closest competitors, Yulia Efimova and Jessica Hardy, and even more against the rest of the field. And she’s not exactly getting off the block fast just for the sake of getting off the block fast – she has a ton of power and momentum as she enters her underwater.
This is why Meilutyte, despite how good she is at such a young age, might not even be done crushing World Records yet. This start is what separates her from the rest of the world, and she can probably get even a little better. If you’ve ever wondered why her 100 breaststroke splits seem so wonky – out at World Record pace when she turns – this start is why.