SwimSwam Pulse: 64.6% Think Skins Would Be Most Exciting Dual Meet Addition

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 what unique event would you like to see added to dual meets to make them more exciting:

Question: What would be the most exciting event to add to a dual meet to spice things up?


  • Skins – like in ISL – 64.6%
  • “Super Finals” – like at UVA/Texas – 26.3%
  • “Golden Race” – like at World Cup (stroke 100 winners) – 9.1%

We’ve seen a number of unique events added to college dual meets over the years, with the University of Virginia introducing “super finals” for their dual with Texas in late October.

The super final made for a head-to-head matchup between each of the swimmer’s top teams in a given event, with the winner earning all of the points up for grabs.

Although different, they had a similar feel to the jackpots used by the International Swimming League (ISL) during its time, where the winner’s margin of victory could result in them stealing points from other swimmers.

The ISL also had an exciting end-of-match skins showdown that always made things interesting—they have been used in a variety of meets across the globe—where swimmers are eliminated in a series of heats, usually 50s.

Another unique event that was featured recently was the “Golden Race” at the World Cup stop in Budapest, where the winners of each stroke 100 raced head-to-head in a staggered start format designed to have all of them finish at the same time (based on their winning times from earlier in the meet).

When polled on what would be the “most exciting” addition to a dual meet, SwimSwam readers clearly favor skins, which picked up nearly two-thirds of the vote at 64.4 percent.

Of course, swimmers are generally swimming without rest during dual meets as it is, so fatigue could play a prominent role in skins perhaps more so than we saw in the ISL, but still, who wouldn’t want to see Jordan Crooks and Josh Liendo face off head-to-head after having already raced three 50s in five or six minutes?

The super final earned more than a quarter of the votes, which also brings in that head-to-head aspect while adding an all-or-nothing points aspect that surely adds intensity in a close meet.

The Golden Race only picked up nine percent of votes—it could be the most exciting from a variety of perspectives, including seeing swimmers who don’t usually race go to battle, but it also could be difficult (or pointless) to pull off if the stroke 100 winners are primarily from the same team.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Is Katie Ledecky the female GOAT?

Is Katie Ledecky the greatest female swimmer of all-time?

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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Kurt Mills Hanson
22 days ago

The swimming skins format was invented by my dad, Ian back in the early 90’s. Watching a golf skins tournament he was inspired by the battle between Australian, Kieren Perkins & German, Jorg Hoffman in the 1500m freestyle at the 1991 World Champs in Perth.

After some test events the idea finally came to fruition 5 years later with the Qantas Skins created off the back of the insane hype surrounding swimming in Australia from Perkins 1500m victory from lane 8 in Atlanta in 1996.

The first Qantas Skins was held in Sydney in November 1996 with $100,000 prize pool & included international talent Danyon Loader (New Zealand) Jon Olsen, Jenny Thompson & Mark Henderson (USA) Jingji Li, Li… Read more »

Tea rex
22 days ago

Poor choices. Add 100 IM.

22 days ago

They should get rid of exhibition points

23 days ago

Why do they call it skins?

Lisa Simpson
Reply to  Seth
21 days ago

Australians invented skins format.

23 days ago

adding some isl components to NCAA swimming would be cool

also ask me after paris abt ledecky plz

Lisa Simpson
23 days ago

Skin is absolutely more entertaining than the other two choices.

And yes, Ledecky is the greatest female swimmer ever.

Stats, quality of swims, and longevity proved that she’s GOAT female swimmer.

Foreign Embassy
23 days ago

I’d rather see the 800 added to Division 1 ncaa champs tbh

Last edited 23 days ago by Foreign Embassy
Sun Yangs Hammer
23 days ago

Ledecky is a weak field merchant. Literally 50m clear of second place at every Olympics.

Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
23 days ago

If only there were another explanation for how that keeps happening

Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
23 days ago

Ryan Murphy is a weak field merchant. Ledecky is not.

Reply to  Andrew
23 days ago

So true. Backstroke has been so thin the last 2 years it’s crazy

Reply to  Swammer
23 days ago

Double K and Rylov being out hasn’t helped either. They are both Murphy’s legal fathers (when they are allowed to compete). Not even anti-bears sentiment, just facts

Reply to  Swammer
23 days ago

Not really the 100 (at least not last year) but the 200 super weak

Reply to  Sub13
23 days ago

Even the 100 is thin. Without Rylov and KK the only real threat is Ceccon. Everyone else is going 52.5 at best

Reply to  Swammer
23 days ago

Yeah I guess the field is thin even if there are a couple of strong ones near the top

Te paki
Reply to  Swammer
23 days ago

I’d like to see you do a better time

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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