Why Adrian is Retooling His 100 Free: GMM presented by SwimOutlet.com

Gold Medal Minute presented by SwimOutlet.com

8-time Olympic medalist Nathan Adrian shot himself out of a cannon at the Indy Pro Swim. 48.6 in the 100m free is a phenomenal swim for his first sprint since the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Nathan swam it differently too, showing a lot of gitty-up coming home in 24 point 7.   He said “that’s the future of the 100 free.”  Going lights-out on the first 50 and holding on isn’t the way to race that event. Going out strong and building the entire 100m free is the future.  Do you agreed with the 2012 Olympic Champion in this event?

Adrian’s next event will be the Mesa Pro Swim April 13-15.  After his 48.6 to launch his ramp up to World Championships in Budapest, what do you think he can go at U.S. Nationals (and U.S. World Championship Trials) June 27 to July 1st?  I think  he’s solidly 47.8.  By World Championships, I think Nathan could go a lifetime best, dipping under his 47.52 personal best.   Post Olympic years are a little more relaxing. Also, hard work from the Olympic training year often pays off in the post Olympic year. What do you think?  More importantly, what will it take to win 100m free at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest?

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This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.

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I think he’s just bored and reframing it mentally for the four years. He swam the 200 SCY free a few years before Rio saying it would help his back half. Same thing. Typically in every other 100 race among the medalists, he who leads at the 50 (Murphy, Peaty, Schooling), wins. The exception has always been MP, and Adrian’s not MP for back-half swims. That said, this might be the future of HIS race (at his age), just not THE race. Someone will come along with Ervin-esque speed to the 50 and be able to stave off people coming home.


Kyle Chalmers


Chalmers isn’t quite 22 high to the feet like Ervin. Someday there will be a 50-100 Olympic champion again.

Baker\'s Pearl Earrings

Chalmers, Oleksiak, Hosszu. All won from the back half


re: he who leads at the 50 winning, I think this is misleading. Obviously it’s great to be first at the 50, but I think it would be more helpful to look at the split differences between first and second 50’s. For example, in my experience, the most successful flyers and breaststrokers typically have a roughly 3 second spread between 50’s (Phelps and Peaty are the exceptions in their strokes,with Phelps often 2.5 or so and Peaty something like 3.9 when he went 57.13). Schooling was 3.1 in Rio, and obviously that worked out. Murphy was 5th at the 50 in the 100 back final in Rio and won it. Schooling was first at the 50 in the 100 fly… Read more »

Steve Nolan

Kinda reminds me of the “Phelps is tinkering with a straight-arm recovery, he’s gonna be a sprint monster!!” stuff we saw in…aw crap, was that ’09? I’m so old.


I don’t think this is a very original or novel line of thought. The only relevant victory in the 100 free by someone who did not have back-end speed that I can recall is Ervin’s at Fukuoka 2001. Matt Biondi was fast on the way out, but also on the way back (he was a 200 freestyler as well). Same for Popov or PVDH. Anyway, the “future” is someone who can do what Cameron McEvoy did almost 1 year ago, go out in sub-23 and come back in 24.5 …

Jonathan W Washburn

I think Luigi is correct here. Not a new idea. Every sprinter has swum the 100 free so many times it has inevitably been handled all different ways. Different strategies particularly between prelims and finals. I think for decades there has been at least an internal speedometer that has held back some of the first halves. Then when the second half goes great, the thought comes: “Hey, that’s the way to swim this race.” Then another day, another 100, and feeling so great at the start the sprinter thinks “this time it’s different, I think I can make the whole 100 all out”. And sometimes that works. And when the “all out” works best, it is by definition faster than… Read more »


But do it when it counts (re McEvoy).

bobo gigi

Interesting. Different tactics between Adrian, Dressel and Held, the 3 big favorites to represent USA in the men’s 100 free in Budapest. 3 favorites for 2 spots. I think Dressel’s endurance and stroke efficiency have improved a lot since Rio and I see him able to die less than in the past in the last 25 meters to swim at least 47.75. Held has never looked as strong and we know he can finish very well his races. Great challenge for the “old” Adrian.


You forget that when Adrian won the 100 at London, he pulled away at the end from the best closer there was. He may never get that Lezak-like second wind again in a race, but at least then, his last 15 meters was great.


“pulled away”.. won by one hundreth


Well, caught back up to, then. He was a fly-and-die type racer back then and had a lead at the 50. Magnussen caught up and looked like he had the lead at the 75 or 80m mark but somehow Adrian went past him again.


Watch the race, Adrian had a terrific Straight Arm to win the last 5 meters even after Magnussen caught him.


And remember Adrian practiced that finish all season long before that race. Great Karma….

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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