WATCH: Erika Brown Break SEC Record in Women’s 100 Yard Freestyle (45.83)


Tennessee senior Erika Brown closed out her SEC Championship career on Saturday with a win, SEC Championship, and SEC Conference Record in the women’s 100 yard freestyle. She swam a 45.83 that is the 3rd-best swim in history, and makes her the 2nd-fastest ever in that event’s history.

Brown, as compared to Simone Manuel when the latter marked the fastest-ever time in this event of 45.56, has a very different approach to the race. At 5’11” tall, Manuel has a much more powerful stroke with a lower recovery, whereas Brown, who is only 5’7″, is more of a “sit up high and slide across the surface” freestyler, using a high windmilling recovery stroke. Brown, however, takes much fewer strokes in a yards race, owing to much longer spent underwater. This difference in particular is part of the reason why Manuel’s swimming, thus far, has translated better to the long course pool.

Stroke counts:

  • Manuel: 11-13-13-14
  • Brown mid-season: 9-10-11-13
  • Brown SECs: 9-11-12-14

Whereas Manuel swam about 65 yards of her race on the surface, Brown only swam about 50 yards of her race on the surface. So whereas Manuel’s distance-per-stroke was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.3 yards, Brown’s is closer to 1.15 yards. That comes out to almost 6 inches per stroke more length that Manuel gets than Brown.

What’s even more interesting, is that Brown took even more strokes at SECs than she did mid-season, up to 46, meaning that as she’s tapering, her stroke rate is increasing.

Watch Video of Erika Brown‘s SEC Championship swim below:

Video of Erika Brown‘s Mid-Season 100 Free:

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Wild Bill
1 year ago

Impressive analysis

1 year ago

Appears to be prelims video.

1 year ago

Video is from Tennessee invite not SEC

Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

Nice. Now do Pernille Blume. On the swimming part, Pernille and Erika look almost identical. Both 5’7″, about the same weight and scoot along the surface (I guess this is Jonty’s “hydro-freestyle”). Pernille has terrible underwaters (compared to her swimming), which is why she was a non-factor in the ISL 50 free. Yet Pernille is clearly better in the 50 LCM free than Erika and about/better than Simone. If Erika ever gets the slight advantage Pernille has in the swim portion, she’ll be unstoppable with her start/underwaters in LCM.

1 year ago
1 year ago

Yup, it’s all about the long pool.

1 year ago

Thanks for this, Braden! What do folks think about the possibility of a gifted swimmer with weaker underwaters developing stronger ones (thinking of someone like Katie McL— great underwaters could take her into 1:54 flat start territory). What does it take?

1 year ago

Speaking from experience…my freshman through junior year of high school I had nearly non existent underwaters but had jr cuts. From the beginning of this year to now I have pretty much been forcing myself to kick to 12.5-15m on most fast sets. Then focusing on great underwater technique and kick tempo on the shorter things. My underwaters have taken off and I think anyone can become good at them with plenty of practice. Just discipline everyday. At the beginning was even using a rope at 12.5. Training new skills is about doing them well often, repeatedly until it seems normal.

Reply to  Swimmerinlane9
1 year ago

Hey thanks for this generous response. Congrats on the progress! That’s big!

1 year ago

Sick underwaters

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Lpman
1 year ago

Anna Hopkin gave her a run for her money too.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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