What Would a Swimming Decathlon Look Like?

by Riley Overend 13

September 24th, 2022 College, News

Earlier this month, University of Texas pro group member Shaine Casas became the first swimmer to surpass 5,000 points at the Longhorns’ annual quadrathlon featuring 50s of every stroke.

For each 50 event, longtime Texas head coach Eddie Reese has a time standard, unchanged since the 1980s, that is worth 1,000 points. Every hundredth of a second faster under the mark added one point to a swimmer’s total, and every hundredth of a second slower subtracted one point.

The fun event format got us thinking: What would a swimming decathlon look like?

SwimSwam’s David Clossey compiled a hypothetical 10-event schedule consisting of 50s of each stroke, 200s of each stroke, the 200 IM, and the 1000 free. The next task was finding time standards in each event worth 750 power points, about the same value as the 736.75 average of Reese’s benchmarks at Texas. Note: scoring is weighted differently to account for sprint vs. distance disparities.

SwimSwam’s “Decathlon” Lineup

Event Time Standard Scoring Conversion
50 Free 21.43 .01 seconds = 1 point
50 Breast 26.69 .01 seconds = 1 point
50 Back 24.12 .01 seconds = 1 point
50 Fly 23.52 .01 seconds = 1 point
200 Free 1:41.95 .01 seconds = .25 points
200 Breast 2:08.16 .01 seconds = .25 points
200 Back 1:53.56 .01 seconds = .25 points
200 Fly 1:54.08 .01 seconds = .25 points
200 IM 1:54.20 .01 seconds = .25 points
1000 Free 9:39.20 .01 seconds = .05 points

If any teams actually decide to try this, let us know how it turns out.

And if divers are feeling left out, an alternative schedule could be replacing the 200 IM with six 1-meter dives. A score standard of equivalent difficulty would need to be created, and every point away could be a point added or subtracted.

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Swim Fast Swim Pretty
5 months ago

This sounds like round 1 of 3 in a main set at Badger Swim Club on a typical Tuesday afternoon.

5 months ago

Painful… it would look painful

Snowpipers of Alaska
5 months ago

It’d be tough to get 10 race-level times in 1 day out of any senior-level club swimmer or college swimmer, regardless of how “fast” and “well-rounded” he/she is.

Would propose the team commit 2 Saturday “practices” early in the season with the following format, almost mirroring a college swim meet (swapping out the 100s of stroke with 50s), with a warm-up and then a “meet”:

Day 1:
1000 Free
200 Free
50 Back
50 Breast
200 Fly

Day 2:
50 Free
200 Back
200 Breast
50 Fly
200 IM

Would love to see some elite teams trial this. It’d be great to see the well-rounded 200/distance types get some recognition,… Read more »

David Clossey
Reply to  Snowpipers of Alaska
5 months ago

Yeah I agree that’s likely the best way to structure it if you’re looking to get the best look at actual racing times.

The alternative to splitting it up across two days would probably be to just treat it as a practice with a really long off the blocks set.

5 months ago

Time standard are out of balance

5 months ago

IIRC, we did do a dive or two when we did the ‘record board’ set at practice.

5 months ago

The field events don’t translate well. Could be fun to come up with some.

The Grand Inquisitor
Reply to  Drewbrewsbeer
5 months ago

If the analogy to Track & Field is Swimming & Diving, then field events should include boards and platform

Last edited 5 months ago by The Grand Inquisitor
Piss Pooler
5 months ago

Kinda sounds like it would look like a practice.

5 months ago

My vote is just to do a 4IM

Last edited 5 months ago by BMays
Reply to  BMays
5 months ago

4 x 100 each stroke
3M dive
platform dive
2-minute technical solo dance
best out of 10 full court water polo shots
5 K open water swim

10th event: underwater monofin? open water lifeguard save?

Reply to  BWPolo
5 months ago

Bubble rings.

David Clossey
Reply to  BWPolo
5 months ago

A time trial to put on a racing suit?

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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