What Does It Take to Make It Back? Comparing Times from 2008-2016

Swimming is constantly getting faster, and one way to measure the sport’s improvements over the years is to look at what times it has taken to advance from prelims at the U.S. Olympic Trials.

We’re sure that there are swimmers, parents, coaches, and swim fans who all want to track that improvement, and we’ve taken the work out of it for you by taking a look ourselves.  Here’s a quick glance at what it’s to place in the top 8 for top 16 for Day 1.

 Event 2008 2012 2016
Men’s 400 IM 8th 4:21.05 4:19.33 4:15.41
Women’s 100 Fly 16th 59.97 59.87 59.87
Men’s 400 Free 8th 3:51.47 3:49.89 3:50.52
Women’s 400 IM 8th 4:43.20 4:43.17 4:42.04
Men’s 100 Breast 1:02.36 1:01.80 1:01.41

A few things stick out when looking at the chart.  Most notably, the men’s 400 IM has gotten a lot faster.  Despite the fact that in swimmers in 2008 were still able to compete in suits are banned today, the 8th-placed time from 2008, a 4:21.05 by Dustin McClary, would have placed 14th this morning.

The women’s 100 fly was also noticeable, thanks to a pretty unusual occurrence.  While 16th in the women’s 100 fly dropped a second from 2008 to 2012, it stalled from 2012, with 16th place both that year and today clocking in at 59.87.

Both the women’s 400 IM and men’s 100 breast have shown consistent improvement over the past two quads, with a 1.16 second improvement in the women’s 400 IM since 2008, and a 0.95 second improvement in the men’s 100 breast.

Only in one event this morning did it actually take a slower time to advance out of finals than in 2012, and that was the men’s 400 free.  In 2012, Michael McBroom made it into the final with a 3:49.89 in prelims.  Today, Grant Shoults took 8th with a 3:50.52.

Check back each day and we’ll keep you updated on the comparisons between this year’s meet and previous ones.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!