SwimSwam Pulse: 34% Select 400 IM As Hardest Event

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to pick the hardest event in swimming:

RESULTS

Question: Which is the hardest event?

  • 1650 free – 8.4%
  • 200 fly – 9.6%
  • 400 IM – 34.7%
  • 200 back – 22.2%
  • 200 free – 7.9%
  • 200 breast – 13.0%
  • 50 free – 4.3%

More than a third of SwimSwam readers picked the 400 IM as the hardest race in swimming in one of our most-voted polls yet.

Almost 1500 ballots were cast, with the 400 IM handily beating a pretty well-spread out field of tough events. Here’s the list organized from most votes to least:

  • 400 IM – 34.7%
  • 200 back – 22.2%
  • 200 breast – 13.0%
  • 200 fly – 9.6%
  • 1650 free – 8.4%
  • 200 free – 7.9%
  • 50 free – 4.3%

The 200 back came in second, with 22.2% of sore-legged voters selecting that race. The results were clearly skewed as the 200 breast finished in the top half with 13%, but didn’t win as we all know it should have. Right?

Few voters gave weight to the argument that the 50 free is toughest based on its low margin for error, and the 200 free also struggled for votes. In fact, all three freestyle races sank to the bottom of our poll, proving once and for all that stroke specialists are the toughest swimmers in the pool. (Specifically breaststrokers, says the reporter/breaststroker).

 

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters to pick the winner of the women’s ACC Championships:

Who is going to win women's ACCs?

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The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner

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Corn
5 years ago

There is a reason why Lochte and Phelps gave up on the event…

Sqimgod
Reply to  Corn
4 years ago

LOL very true. However I guarantee that if u look to the side in breaststroke and start talking to the person next to u during a race it becomes alot more fun

ThatGuy
5 years ago

This is just proof that not enough swimmers have tried sprinting a 200 breast flat out. Most just avoid the event completely. Also, 2/3 of each backstroke lap should be fast underwaters anyway, making it quicker and easier!

Michael Antonakakis
5 years ago

I think that 200fly is the most difficult event, because fly needs an athlete with strength, strong mind and strong soul to compete and win this event and finish with a very good time. Also, 400im is a difficult event, but you can relax a bit in backstroke and make slower strokes in breaststroke.

Swimmer/coach
Reply to  Michael Antonakakis
5 years ago

If you want to be a great 400 Imer you have to learn the mentally not back off in the backstroke and to really attack the breastroke in order to gain an advantage on your opponents

Randall
5 years ago

I’d rather spit roast my legs at a luau then swim a 2 back

RECOVERINGSWIMCOACH
5 years ago

I liked the 400IM because it gave me twice as much time to make up for my horrible butterfly than the 200.

Onii-chan
5 years ago

Oh no… Senpai won’t be happy about this! He always thought the 25 yard doggy paddle was the hardest, and you know how he gets when people don’t agree with him. Swimswam voters are all baka!

Prickle
5 years ago

“all three freestyle races sank to the bottom of our poll, proving once and for all that stroke specialists are the toughest swimmers in the pool”
This example proves one more time that statistical data can be treated any way you want and can be used to support completely opposite opinions. Why not to make a conclusion that this data just simply shows us what the most unnatural way to move in the water is. If you try to swim backward or upside down it will be even more difficult. The champion in such a “stroke” can proudly call himself the toughest guy in the pool.
Why do we have all these different stroke competitions? It is a… Read more »

PACFAN
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

Lol someone could never keep up in IM sets in high school….

Prickle
Reply to  PACFAN
5 years ago

Have you ever tried to swim blindfolded with one arm only 200 m. It was one of many sadistic tools of punishment of our coach. 400im was nothing compare to it. But it was fun to watch. Every was laughing especially when the poor guy approached the wall and must complete flip turn. If at least one turn wasn’t done correctly or the swimmer was too slow the entire “exercise” was repeated again. Everybody was laughing around, but not the guy in the water. Don’t tell me about toughness. 🙂

50free
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

Yeah I agree. I’m going to tell my coach I’ll only swim freestyle now:)

KSchwim
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

A freestyler are you? Somebody sounds a little jealous…

Old Water Dog
Reply to  Prickle
5 years ago

The fastest stroke is upside down dolphin, so that should be your stroke of preference?

Uberfan
5 years ago

200 breast 3rd what? If you wanna go slow it’s easy meanwhile you can’t go slow and swim fly

cynthia curran
Reply to  Uberfan
5 years ago

It depends on how old you are and what is your best stroke, I would say 200 fly takes more out of you, particularly meters but at age 46 I swam a 200 meter breast and thought I would not survive it. As a teenager and young adult breaststroke and butterfly came easier for me than free and backstroke.

Carlo
Reply to  Uberfan
5 years ago

Try swimming the 200 breast as fast as you can then try swimming the 200 fly as fast as you can.
I assure you, your knees and elbows will be out of commission after the 200 breast. The 200 fly in s also tough but so is the 200 back. The legs suffer the most in the 200 back. However the 400IM eats the cake though. Try swimming the 400IM as fast as you can and I can guarantee that you,ll be in bed for at least a day. Just kidding?

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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