SwimSwam Pulse: 57.5% Think Olympics Should Add 50s of Fly, Back & Breast

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 whether the 50s of fly, back, and breast should be added to the Olympic lineup:


Question: Should the non-free 50s be added to the Olympic lineup?

  • Yes – 57.5%
  • No – 38.5%
  • Don’t know – 4.0%

More than half of voters said the non-free 50s should be added to the Olympic swimming lineup, bringing the total to 41 pool swimming events.

The current Olympic lineup has 35 events. Three of those will make their debuts next summer: the men’s 800 free, women’s 1500 free, and mixed medley relay. Those are all set to join the lineup for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, now in 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic caused a one-year postponement.

Many argue that swimming already has an inflated Olympic medal count. As a sport, swimming features 7 of the top 20 in total Olympic medals won, outpacing all other sports besides gymnastics, which also features 7 of the top 20. There are few other sports that offer athletes the chance to win as many medals in a single Olympics as swimming does, and adding a total of six more events (the 50 fly, 50 back, and 50 breast for men and for women) would further exacerbate that disparity.

On the other hand, swimming fans can’t get enough Olympic swimming, and for good reason. The Olympics remain the prestige pinnacle of the sport, and the stroke 50s are already a part of the high-level swimming format of the World Championships.

Adding more events might put a little more strain on overall roster limits. The Olympic movement has worked to lower the total number of athletes and officials at the Games in order to lower the massive burden on host cities. In fact, the last several Olympic cycles have seen potential host cities vote down their own bids due to the massive costs and hurdles associated with hosting the Olympic Games.

The IOC cut its athlete quota down by more than 500 total athletes for the 2024 Paris Olympics, and that includes a 26-person reduction in the overall number of swimmers selected across all nations. 

As a whole, swimming fans probably would have preferred adding the stroke 50s to adding the mixed medley relay. But the IOC has made an effort to add more mixed-gender events as part of its roadmap to achieving gender equality. The Paris 2024 Olympics will be the first Olympics with a 50/50 split between men’s and women’s participants.


Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters to predict how many sub-58 swims we’ll see in the Olympic final of the women’s 100 back next year:

How many women will go under 58 seconds in the 100 back Olympic final next summer?

View Results

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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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1 month ago

As much as I would like to see this, the medal count for swimming is already extremely high compared to other sports that feature at the Olympics. I’d say the best argument for their inclusion is that 50s perhaps represent more of an opportunity for less-represented countries in swimming to make an appearance.

Reply to  PeatyPiper
1 month ago

Curious why you think that. If 50s were added, wouldn’t you see more athletes from countries like the USA start to train and focus on 50s of stroke? Thus bumping out some of the less-represented countries? Interested to see what you think.

Reply to  Curious
1 month ago

Yes, I agree there would be more focus from top-tier swimming nations on events such as 50 fly, breast and back due to Olympic medal potential. However, there would still be a limit of 2 per nation. Because the 50s are so short (and arguably, simple), you could have many more nations enter at least 1 swimmer for an event. At WCs the heats for the 50s are always far more numerous, than for example, the 400IM. Some might see this as a waste of time in terms of the heats simply cutting down the medal winners; inevitably it will still be the same nations in the final. However it allows more nations to ‘get a foot in the door’… Read more »

Reply to  PeatyPiper
1 month ago

The Olympics are decreasing athlete numbers, not increasing them.

Reply to  PeatyPiper
1 month ago

That’s a good idea, but sadly I don’t see that happening any time soon at least.

1 month ago

If that % was a breastroke time, that would be a beta Adam peaty time.

1 month ago

At least 42% of you have some sense…

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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