SwimSwam Pulse: 53.7% Think 1000 Free Should Stay On Dual Meet Schedules

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.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers if the 1000 free should still be raced at collegiate dual meets:

Question: Should the 1000 free be eliminated from college dual meets?


  • No – 53.7%
  • Yes, add the 1650 – 26.8%
  • Yes, 500 should be longest – 19.5%

The 1000 freestyle is not on the NCAA Division I Championship program, but it’s contested at the vast majority of dual meets.


The event serves as the distance freestyle event of the meet in place of the 1650, presumably to save time, with each heat of a 1000 free being approximately six minutes shorter than it would be for the mile.

Maybe there’s also an argument that racing the 1000 free is more palatable to do several times per season than the 1650 for training purposes, though that’s hard to justify given the daunting regimes swimmers take on every day.

The event is still contested at the NCAA Division II Championships, and it is featured in the program at the Men’s Ivy League Championships, though it has been dropped from the women’s meet.

Taken to the SwimSwam A3 Performance Poll, readers are relatively split on what the best course of action is.

More than half, 53.7 percent, think it should remain on the dual meet program. Just over a quarter (26.8%) think it should be gone and they should add the 1650, and just under a fifth (19.5%) of readers believe the 500 free should be the longest race contested in a dual meet.

It seems as though the right move would be to either add the 1000 free to the NCAA Championship program at the Division I level—just like we saw the men’s 800 free and women’s 1500 free added to the Olympics a few years ago—or bring the 1650 into dual meets more so swimmers have a chance to race it multiple times prior to the postseason.

If the 1000 was added to D1 NCAAs, it could easily slot into a timed final on Wednesday evening, where the 200 medley and 800 free relays are currently situated.

That move would make distance swimmers much more valuable to a team’s overall performance at NCAAs, with sprinters currently much more useful from a points perspective.

Also, if the 1650 was added to dual meets, they could put an entry cap in place to ensure there are a maximum of two heats (or even one if women and men raced alongside one another with four swimmers per gender).

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

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

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2 months ago

Perhaps dual meets could have both the 1000 and 1650, and only allow 1 heat of both, or have a heat with 4 swimmers doing the 1000 and the other 4 swim the 1650.

As for swimming the 1000 or the 1650, do coaches want to put their distance swimmers in every dual meet? Maybe have someone who does the 1650, trade off the 1000 or 500 every few meets.

fifth year, hanging on for dear life
2 months ago

As someone who swam distance the first three years of their college career, I don’t think I could have made it if I had to swim the mile every week. Having to race a mile week in week out, knowing I would be 30-50 seconds off a PR, just would not be palatable. Especially if it isn’t a particularly close race one way or another, which happens a lot in distance events dual meets. With the thousand, the length of the race was palatable and since we only swam it at dual meets, you had a different perception of what a “good time” is, not influenced by what you would go on taper.

Once I started sprinting, I loved… Read more »

fifth year, hanging on for dear life

adding onto my original comment, asking your distance swimmers to race a 500 after a mile, especially if it is a tight dual meet and if the mile was a hard-fought race, would be brutal and lead to some pretty rough looking 500s. The 500 would even more heavily favor teams with more depth or swimmers who race 200/500

2 months ago

I think they should switch all college pools to short course meters and abandon the yards format. With the underwaters now it has gotten ridiculous. At least a 25meter pool would force them to swim closer to 1/2 the pool length above the surface and reward swimming a bit more.

Last edited 2 months ago by Hank
Reply to  Hank
2 months ago

The dominant conversation in college swimming is “will colleges be able to afford it when all the athletes are made into employees?” and so where are they going to come up with the collective billion-or-so dollars for this conversion?

3 months ago

Ask the swimmers, I’ll hold onto my guess how many want to race the Mile event more than four-five times over the course of a season.

Last edited 3 months ago by Swimpop
Reply to  Swimpop
3 months ago

I was a sprinter in college. Distance events really help the recovery.

Reply to  James Sutherland
3 months ago

My mid major conference scorer thinks you way overestimate 80% of the D1 programs training.

She gets to swim it 5 times right now, fall duel, mid season, winter duel, conference and NiC for her, she says that’s plenty.

Reply to  Swimpop
3 months ago

That’s exactly the point! Now they can swim it exactly 3 times in a season – that is if they get to the NCAAs! They want more opportunities to swim it!

Reply to  DistFun
3 months ago

No, I think most have the opportunity to swim it at least once before mid season and likely another before conference. Its not like it’s not included in duel meets, just not all of them.

Reply to  Swimpop
3 months ago

Not true. The do not have ANY chance to swim it before mid-season or before conference. What you *think* does not matter, facts do!

Last edited 3 months ago by DistFun

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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