Top 5 Biggest Time Drops on Day 1 Of U.S. Nationals


SwimSwam statistical superstar Barry Revzin has done it again. This time, Barry’s quickly pulled together data from today’s races to check out how many swimmers dropped time from seed, and which swimmers had the biggest relative time drops.

The 100 frees were rife with big-time time drops. Our biggest drop of the day came out of the men’s race, and our top two drops among the top 16 seeds came out of 100 freestyles. If you didn’t recognize those two names before tonight, you certainly should now; Zach Apple is perhaps the biggest breakout on the men’s side so far, and Mallory Comerford has tied Katie Ledecky and beaten Simone Manuel over the past four months.

Biggest Drops

Top Time Drops:

Ranked on a percentage basis.

  1. -3.3% – Matthew Willenbring – Men’s 100 free – 51.26 to 49.57
  2. -2.0% – Miles Smachlo – Men’s 200 fly – 2:01.32 to 1:57.64
  3. -2.8% – Blaise Vera – Men’s 100 free – 52.17 to 50.73
  4. -2.8% – Nicolas Albiero – Men’s 200 fly – 2:02.25 to 1:58.85
  5. -2.7% – Summer Finke – Women’s 800 free – 8:45.95 to 8:34.63

Top Time Drops Among Top 16 Seeds:

Ranked on a percentage basis.

  1. -2.6% – Zach Apple – Men’s 100 free – 49.43 to 48.14
  2. -2.0% – Mallory Comerford – Women’s 100 free – 53.91 to 52.81
  3. -1.7% – Jack Conger – Men’s 200 fly – 1:56.45 to 1:54.47
  4. -1.6% – Michael Brinegar – Men’s 100 free – 15:25.70 to 15:10.66
  5. -1.6% – Sarah Gibson – Women’s 200 fly – 2:10.84 to 2:08.75

Improvements Against Seed Times

Various Stats:

  • Average improvement: +0.03%
  • Median improvement: -0.26%
  • % of swims that improved on seed time: 56.6%

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Deceiving. Seed times are not best times
Plus does not take into account people entered in yards


True, they’re not lifetime bests for ALL swimmers – although for many swimmers they are, and even for those that have been faster than their seed times, it’s still a meaningful starting point to look at. I also intentionally ignored those swimmers seeded with yards times – mainly because any kind of conversion would be way too noisy.


Think of how long it would take to get that data together. This is more useful now than something more perfect after worlds are done.


stop wining about details ……


Nice! Good to see someone rippin’ some ggplot2!!

bobo gigi

I like that kind of articles. And I love watching big time drops at the big meets!
But you should also compare to best times, not seed times. It tells us more things.
I don’t put in the same category Mallory Comerford’s 52.81 and Jack Conger’s 1.54.47.
Mallory’s best time was 53.91 and Jack’s best time was 1.54.54.

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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