Why so many swimming world records?

bank5

Rookie
Seems like every swimming race a new world record is set. I've never seen this many new records in my life. Anyone know why?
 

Morpheus

Professional
I was wondering the same thing. I recall some talk about new suits, but I don't know if that would make such a difference.
 

DashaandSafin

Hall of Fame
Why so many medals for swimming?
Because there are different events. Duh. Just like asking why so many medals for shooting, archery, weightlifting.

I love the rip swimming gets...

And it has nothing to do with suit technology otherwise everyone would be wearing the new Lazr suit and full body at that. Athletes are just getting stronger and training more. Back in the 80's people just didnt train 6 hrs a day like these people do. Nowadays, they do, everyday (including xmas).
 

Morpheus

Professional
Because there are different events. Duh. Just like asking why so many medals for shooting, archery, weightlifting.

I love the rip swimming gets...

And it has nothing to do with suit technology otherwise everyone would be wearing the new Lazr suit and full body at that. Athletes are just getting stronger and training more. Back in the 80's people just didnt train 6 hrs a day like these people do. Nowadays, they do, everyday (including xmas).
There have been 38 world records set since Speedo introduced its LZR Racer suit in February. A study has shown that the suits lowered times by 1.9 to 2.2 percent--the equivalent of about one second in a freestyle 100 meter race, due to the lower drag.

This was before the Olympics. That's a lot of records in a short time. I don't buy the "better training" answer.
 
i'll just post the text from the npr story...

Until Sunday, the Olympic "Water Cube" in Beijing was best known for being blue and bubbly and bright at night. Now the Olympic swimming pool inside may get more attention.

A dozen world and Olympic records fell at the pool Sunday, most in preliminary heats. American Michael Phelps started the record run with a new world mark in the 400-meter individual medley event. That won him his first gold medal of the 2008 games.

Ten hours later, the U.S. men's 4-by-100 freestyle relay team also set a world record.

Records often fall at the Olympics, because athletes spend four years preparing and their performances often peak at the games. But the pool itself may deserve some credit.

"It's by far the fastest pool in the world," says Rowdy Gaines, an Olympic medalist and swimming commentator for Olympic broadcaster NBC. "If you step into this arena, you'll see a thing of beauty. ... It's really a thing of absolute beauty."

Gaines is not referring to the futuristic exterior. He focuses on the design of the pool, which discourages turbulence and encourages speed.

"I'm talking about deep water," Gaines explains. "It's a perfect depth because if it's too deep, you lose your sense of vision and where you're at in the pool. But it's just deep enough to where the waves dissipate (and) the turbulence dissipates down to the bottom."

The Water Cube pool also has 10 lanes instead of eight. Waves churned up during races don't bounce back into the swimming lanes. Waves that reach the sides are siphoned off by perforated gutters.

"It's physics and it's not sports, but it makes sense," says Christine Brennan, a veteran of 13 Olympics and an Olympics columnist for USA Today. "You make a deeper and a wider pool, and you ... give all of those waves and all of that splashing and all of that moving water a chance to move away from the swimmers and get out of their way, which makes them go faster. It's as simple as that."

The Water Cube pool is close to 10 feet deep. That's 3 feet deeper than the pools of the past. The lane lines that separate swimmers are called wave eaters because they dissipate turbulent water. The goal is to make the water as flat and clear as possible, despite the churning that swimmers create.

An indoor setting also helps, along with temperature, humidity and lighting control. Wide decks with seats sharply cascading back give swimmers an uncrowded sense of space. That can energize athletes, like American Dara Torres, who calls the pool "awesome."

"Everything is just fantastic about this pool. I've never seen such a big facility in my life. And you get a great feeling walking into that facility, knowing that this is where the Olympic Games are (held)."

The technology used in the Water Cube pool is standard now for competitive pools. Gaines believes the pools have reached their technological limits.

"Technology has really kind of tapped out as far as the building of these kinds of facilities," Gaines says. "I can't imagine them getting better."

All that's left, Gaines suggests, is making the water faster, perhaps by changing its chemical composition. Competitive pools, for example, once contained salt water, which increased buoyancy and speed. But Gaines doubts whether water can actually be altered in a way that would help swimmers swim faster.

"It's not like track and field, where the types of tracks ... just get faster and faster because, I guess, there is more spring to them," Gaines says. "But I don't know how you make fast water. It's just not possible."

In fact, new technology lately has focused on high-tech swimming suits that decrease resistance. Those suits and a fast pool and the intensely competitive atmosphere of the Olympics mean more records are likely to fall in Beijing.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
Sydney Aquatic Center was a fast pool with much of the same advantages, but nobody went this fast. Something is different, and it seems like guys are focusing on the starts and turns more. I watched a documentary of Alevander Popov, and his coach talked about how swimmers have maxed out the stroke, and maybe the next great advancement is simply a taller swimmer and greater conservation of speed off the walls. I'm guessing that, the pool, the suits, and adding chemicals to the body are the answer. Now, I have heard that salt water produces faster long distance times that non-salt water. Probably due to less energy wasted on the kick. However, I do not know how it affects sprint times where a six beat kick or greater is used.

I oppose the technology. Compete in fin swimming, or use hand paddles if you want to cheat.
 
I read an article in the Miami newspaper that this pool is going to be the fastest ever, because of the surperior technology in its construction. I follow swimming 2 times every 4 years, the trials then the Olympics, so I'm not an expert.
 

bossass

Rookie
It's the pool, it's the suits, and it's just evolution. Records get broken, it happens in every sport. Phelps is even crushing his own world records, set when he had access to all this technology. I think it's just a covergence of the three things that are making tons of records drop this olympics.
 

crazytennis

Semi-Pro
Sydney Aquatic Center was a fast pool with much of the same advantages, but nobody went this fast. Something is different, and it seems like guys are focusing on the starts and turns more. I watched a documentary of Alevander Popov, and his coach talked about how swimmers have maxed out the stroke, and maybe the next great advancement is simply a taller swimmer and greater conservation of speed off the walls. I'm guessing that, the pool, the suits, and adding chemicals to the body are the answer. Now, I have heard that salt water produces faster long distance times that non-salt water. Probably due to less energy wasted on the kick. However, I do not know how it affects sprint times where a six beat kick or greater is used.

I oppose the technology. Compete in fin swimming, or use hand paddles if you want to cheat.
Phelps does the kicking of the wall better than anybody in the pool right now.

I've also read reports that the new Speedo thing lowers the time by 2% which is pretty significant considering the times aren't not that much.
 
they shorten the length of the pool by a few inches every 4 years. keeps the sport more "entertaining".

or shall i be the first to drop the doping accusation?! :(
 
It's the pool, it's the suits, and it's just evolution. Records get broken, it happens in every sport. Phelps is even crushing his own world records, set when he had access to all this technology. I think it's just a covergence of the three things that are making tons of records drop this olympics.
I want to know if the same swimmers are still on top from past years or have things changed. You see how Phelps is the best now and back at Athens he was the best, so it's not really the swimmers because it doesn't seem like the ranking of best swimmers are changing, if there are rankings for swimmers. The technology is making everything faster. If the same swimmers continue to win, and the same swimmers continue to finish in the same postion against the same opponents then the technology is the only thing affecting the speed and results.
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
Not completely inaccurate. I read about 4 years ago of a pool which was slightly shorter than other pools in the world. There is a tolerance. although very small. I'm sure the Cube is barely legal. Watch someone measure the pool and find out it is 50 yards.:shock:
 

DashaandSafin

Hall of Fame
There have been 38 world records set since Speedo introduced its LZR Racer suit in February. A study has shown that the suits lowered times by 1.9 to 2.2 percent--the equivalent of about one second in a freestyle 100 meter race, due to the lower drag.

This was before the Olympics. That's a lot of records in a short time. I don't buy the "better training" answer.
Congrats then, Speedo loves people like you, buying into technology. Tell me, do you buy the Arena new Powerskins too? They supposedly repel water :rollseyes:

Ive been to Olympics Trials. Some of the fastest swims ive seen were using a mere speedo. I asked why not the new Fastskin II's and such, the reply was they simply didnt like them and they didn't go faster with them. I asked my teammates what they were wearing and most were just going in a speedo. Why? Its just a mental thing. I have a better suit therefore I win.
 

Morpheus

Professional
^^ Read the other posts. There appear to be a variety of factors, the most significant of which is probably the way the pool was designed.

From the article posted earlier in the thread:

"In fact, new technology lately has focused on high-tech swimming suits that decrease resistance. Those suits and a fast pool and the intensely competitive atmosphere of the Olympics mean more records are likely to fall in Beijing."

The records are just falling, they are getting creamed. In some cases, two or three swimmers are beating the world record.
 
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Nuke

Hall of Fame
The records are just falling, they are getting creamed. In some cases, two or three swimmers are beating the world record.
In one of the relays, five teams in the finals beat the world record. Imagine being on the 4th or 5th place team -- you beat the WR and are left off the podium.
 

ag200boy

Hall of Fame
id say its the combination of a fast pool, revolutionary bathing suits, and the fact that these people have all been training for this their whole life
 

Sentinel

Bionic Poster
Unlike other sports like Track and Field, swimmers qualify for the next round based on timing, not position in heats. And the heats are divided based on timing too so the fastest go into one heat.

This _could_ also promote personal bests, ORs, WRs. etc. Pls note that records have often fallen before the finals too.

Just a thought that occured to me
- a possible contributory factor.


Or maybe, they've done some Fengshui hocus pocus on the pool to make it fast. ;-)
 

DashaandSafin

Hall of Fame
^^ Read the other posts. There appear to be a variety of factors, the most significant of which is probably the way the pool was designed.

From the article posted earlier in the thread:

"In fact, new technology lately has focused on high-tech swimming suits that decrease resistance. Those suits and a fast pool and the intensely competitive atmosphere of the Olympics mean more records are likely to fall in Beijing."

The records are just falling, they are getting creamed. In some cases, two or three swimmers are beating the world record.
You stated that the suits somehow dropped seconds off...which is impossible. However, I do agree with the laneline technology and the pool technology, miliseconds are possible.
 

Morpheus

Professional
Thanks for the info. Im an Olympic trials swimmer so I know what I'm talking about. The suits help MENTALLY. Its all mental. A person who has not trained and puts on a suit will not magically drop time.
A study was apparently completed (although I have not seen it) that demonstrated a statistically significant improvement of 1.9% to 2.2%, which translates to about a 1 second improvement over 100 meters (freestyle). That's a big number and, if true, would result in a lot of new world records.

To your last point about a "magical" drop in time, consider that the Australian Eamon Sullivan, who was fifth in the 50-meter freestyle at last year's global meet, broke the world record three times in less than six weeks in a Speedo. Alain Bernard, who didn't make the 100-meter freestyle final, broke that record twice in two days. Seems like even average swimmers are improving.
 
Thanks for the info. Im an Olympic trials swimmer so I know what I'm talking about. The suits help MENTALLY. Its all mental. A person who has not trained and puts on a suit will not magically drop time.
The suit makes a big difference both mentally and in regards to resistance. This in conjunction with the pool is making for some great times (not to mention Phelps is certainly raising the bar and the people around him). It seems like Swimming was simply waiting for a technological breakthrough...it came (the new suit) and its making all the difference.
 

sp00q

Rookie
Because swimmers borrowed from Nadal some of the doping substances he uses and never gets caught with, lol.
 

SempreSami

Hall of Fame
Congrats then, Speedo loves people like you, buying into technology. Tell me, do you buy the Arena new Powerskins too? They supposedly repel water :rollseyes:

Ive been to Olympics Trials. Some of the fastest swims ive seen were using a mere speedo. I asked why not the new Fastskin II's and such, the reply was they simply didnt like them and they didn't go faster with them. I asked my teammates what they were wearing and most were just going in a speedo. Why? Its just a mental thing. I have a better suit therefore I win.
And then you went home and played Nintendo I suppose :roll:
 

chess9

Hall of Fame
1. Speedo suits;
2. Pool design, including better non-turbulent lane lines, deeper and quieter water, higher pool edges, quiet lanes at sides of pool;
3. Constantly improving understanding of swimming dynamics;
4. Improving training on form;
5. Improved training methods;
6. Better nutrition, including supplements, which have made the swimmers taller and stronger; a long hull is faster than a short hull;
7. Improved competition because of the above.

We are probably closing in the limits of improvement in the water. And, remember, before this Olympics, Janet Evans still held 2 Olympic records. :)

-Robert
 
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Kobble

Hall of Fame
A study was apparently completed (although I have not seen it) that demonstrated a statistically significant improvement of 1.9% to 2.2%, which translates to about a 1 second improvement over 100 meters (freestyle). That's a big number and, if true, would result in a lot of new world records.

To your last point about a "magical" drop in time, consider that the Australian Eamon Sullivan, who was fifth in the 50-meter freestyle at last year's global meet, broke the world record three times in less than six weeks in a Speedo. Alain Bernard, who didn't make the 100-meter freestyle final, broke that record twice in two days. Seems like even average swimmers are improving.
I want the details of the study. If the suit material cuts surface friction by 2% over skin, that is one thing, but if it cuts 2% of total drag on a swimmer...That has to make a difference.

I still woudln't rule out hGH. I never knew that stuff could make your hands and feet bigger after 30 years of age. That is just what a swimmer ordered.
 

nCode747

Semi-Pro
the pool is high tech. the body suits where made by NASA. hell if had all that stuff I'd be the best swimmer in my town
 

Morpheus

Professional
I want the details of the study. If the suit material cuts surface friction by 2% over skin, that is one thing, but if it cuts 2% of total drag on a swimmer...That has to make a difference.

I still woudln't rule out hGH. I never knew that stuff could make your hands and feet bigger after 30 years of age. That is just what a swimmer ordered.
There are many references to a study. You are correct. 2% is a huge difference--about as much as doping from what I understand.

Here is one (plus some interesting facts that suggest the rapid pace of records has more to do with fitness or one fast pool:

From Sports Illustrated On-Line:

...In the first six months of 2004, the last Summer Olympic year, one long-course world record was broken. Twenty such marks have fallen this year, 19 of them to swimmers wearing LZR Racers. The most eye-popping times have come in the men's 50 free. The record of 21.64 seconds set by Russia's Alexander Popov in 2000 now seems like a leisurely paddle: Last winter the standard was broken four times in six weeks by LZR-clad swimmers; Australia's Eamon Sullivan finally lopped it down to 21.28 in March. "Those times are otherworldly," says Phil Whitten, executive director of the College Swimming Coaches Association of America. "You wouldn't expect that kind of improvement for another 30 or 40 years."

Whitten and writer Craig Lord of The Times of London have analyzed the results of athletes swimming with and without the LZR. "We calculate that [the suit] makes a difference of about 1.9 percent to 2.2 percent, with greater effect in shorter races," says Whitten. "That's a lot."
 
S

SOUTHPAWZ

Guest
The pool was specially built to make the water easier to swim in.
 

fluffy Beaver

Professional
Congrats then, Speedo loves people like you, buying into technology. Tell me, do you buy the Arena new Powerskins too? They supposedly repel water :rollseyes:

Ive been to Olympics Trials. Some of the fastest swims ive seen were using a mere speedo. I asked why not the new Fastskin II's and such, the reply was they simply didnt like them and they didn't go faster with them. I asked my teammates what they were wearing and most were just going in a speedo. Why? Its just a mental thing. I have a better suit therefore I win.
Thanks for the info. Im an Olympic trials swimmer so I know what I'm talking about. The suits help MENTALLY. Its all mental. A person who has not trained and puts on a suit will not magically drop time.
So you watch Olympic trials, then you participate in them? Get your story straight or stop bsing to help your argument.

Nvm go back to playing Nintendo.
 

DashaandSafin

Hall of Fame
There is great maturity shown on this forum. I participated in Olympic Trials. The 50m freestyle. Unlike most of you dolts and couch potatoes on this board, I chose to do something with my time other than schoolwork. True I barely made the cut and there was no chance I would ever see Beijing, but being around athletes of that caliber who put in that much work was amazing and something most of you keyboard commandos will never experience.

So before you attack me and go tell me to "go play my Nintendo", kindly get your facts straight. But oh well, whats the point? This is just an internet forum...

And btw fluffy, I said I went, and the next post I said I participated. Did you pass 3rd grade reading comprehension? I WENT and I PARTICIPATED. Jeez....the intelligence level here nowadays.
 

DashaandSafin

Hall of Fame
A study was apparently completed (although I have not seen it) that demonstrated a statistically significant improvement of 1.9% to 2.2%, which translates to about a 1 second improvement over 100 meters (freestyle). That's a big number and, if true, would result in a lot of new world records.

To your last point about a "magical" drop in time, consider that the Australian Eamon Sullivan, who was fifth in the 50-meter freestyle at last year's global meet, broke the world record three times in less than six weeks in a Speedo. Alain Bernard, who didn't make the 100-meter freestyle final, broke that record twice in two days. Seems like even average swimmers are improving.
Morpheus, I appreciate you researching those numbers however those are the same numbers they pull everyyear. I remember when I was swimming the Fastskin I came out and claimed the same thing, then the Fastskin II. Some of the fastest guys I knew broke records in the Fastskin I brief...

HOWEVER, I do agree that suit technology makes a difference. Its among many other variable factors. That being said, a guy who hasn't trained cant put on a suit and magically drop time.
 

fluffy Beaver

Professional
Morpheus, I appreciate you researching those numbers however those are the same numbers they pull everyyear. I remember when I was swimming the Fastskin I came out and claimed the same thing, then the Fastskin II. Some of the fastest guys I knew broke records in the Fastskin I brief...

HOWEVER, I do agree that suit technology makes a difference. Its among many other variable factors. That being said, a guy who hasn't trained cant put on a suit and magically drop time
.
You previously said it was mental now you say it does make a difference.

I believe I am right that you are confused that you watched rather than participated in this "Olympic trial".

Go back and play your track and field nintendo.
 

Mansewerz

Legend
The new suits were said to be the greatest innovation in sports in the last thousand years. This was said by a guy on NBC before one of the swimming events

It reduces drag for one and allows you to go faster. That is one of the reasons that the world records are falling nearly every time.

A little unfair IMO, because unlike tennis, where say a record for fastest serve isn't as important, a record in swimming seems like a lot more significant because it's basically shows how good you are at the sport.
 

CyBorg

Legend
I bet Spitz is pissed with NBC's coverage. They're already calling Phelps the greatest swimmer ever - even the greatest olympic athlete.

Spitz, of course, would be the first to point out that he swam in all seven events in 1972 and that we would have swam in the eighth one had it existed. After that he retired and the only other time he swam at the Olympics (save the comeback in Barcelona in 1992) he was 18.

So one could dispute that Phelps is better.
 
There is no dispute...Phelps is better...the guy is a beast. As for the records, what we're seeing is the stars aligning: A perfect pool combined with a radical technological improvement (in a sport that hadn't seen much technological change) and several transcendent stars that are raising the bar and bringing everyone with them...
 

Kobble

Hall of Fame
Comapring Spits to Phelps is apples to oranges. Spitz was a better swimmer overall in the fly and freestyle for his time, Phelps is just a middle distance guy in everything but the 100m fly (which he doesn't hold the WR in). Phelps has a groove at around 200m, and anything that contains the fly. I don't think he can maintain 10m walls at 400m, and he doesn't have the speed in anything shorter.
 

chess9

Hall of Fame
I want the details of the study. If the suit material cuts surface friction by 2% over skin, that is one thing, but if it cuts 2% of total drag on a swimmer...That has to make a difference.

I still woudln't rule out hGH. I never knew that stuff could make your hands and feet bigger after 30 years of age. That is just what a swimmer ordered.
I don't think the swimsuits are that big a component of the records. They are a small part of the answer.

Why do I think that? Well, I've read some of the studies on aerodynamics on the bike, and hydrodynamics in the water. For instance, on the bike a skinsuit makes a very small difference, compared to, say, whether you lift or lower your head or hands a centimeter, or have a water bottle on your bike! Notice Coughlin's one wall in the freestyle last night where she was on her side with her arms pulled tightly over her head. That one wall, executed perfectly, could have dropped her time by .5 seconds compared to a lousy turn. Swimming is like playing the violin. Technique is extremely important. Yet, when you watch swimmers under water, you see a lot of mistakes being made by the fastest swimmers. This leaves room for more records in the future, but we are closing in on the limits, IMHO.

The importance of technique was first appreciated by swim coaches about 70 years ago, but research into swimming dynamics is only about 20 years old. Today, every top swim coach reads literally hundreds of articles and studies on swimming each year. Coaching clinics are loaded with technical form issues on things like front quadrant swimming, angular velocity of ankles in the breaststroke, etc. Coaches are getting better!

http://swimmingresearchnews.com/
http://swimmingtechnology.com/
http://web.mac.com/htoussaint/SwimSite/Welcome.html

The other big change is SIZE. The difference between Phelps and Spitz is about 5 or 6 inches. Length alone will make you faster, holding everything else constant. Notice how tall the 100 free sprinters are.

And then there is power, which is part of the new training methods. If you look at the builds of swimmers in the 1970's and earlier, you see smaller builds than you see now. Today's swimmers are very powerful-a result of the impact of hard lifting regimes and modern supplements like creatine, beta alanine, stand alone amino acids, etc. Also, modern interval training builds power. These kids are very very strong.

Are illegal drugs being used in swimming? I don't think many swimmers are using them because of the culture in swimming and the lack of positive drug tests among 99% of the Olympic swimmers.

This is an interesting topic, for sure, and these are simply my observations and opinions.

-Robert
 

Morpheus

Professional
I bet Spitz is pissed with NBC's coverage. They're already calling Phelps the greatest swimmer ever - even the greatest olympic athlete.

Spitz, of course, would be the first to point out that he swam in all seven events in 1972 and that we would have swam in the eighth one had it existed. After that he retired and the only other time he swam at the Olympics (save the comeback in Barcelona in 1992) he was 18.

So one could dispute that Phelps is better.
I understand that Spitz is a bit miffed that he wasn't invited to come to the Olympics to see his record broken, even though he is considered one of the top Olympians in history and most other top Olympians were invited. I wonder what the back story is here...
 

Morpheus

Professional
The other big change is SIZE. The difference between Phelps and Spitz is about 5 or 6 inches. Length alone will make you faster, holding everything else constant. Notice how tall the 100 free sprinters are.
-Robert
Spitz is 6'1" and Phelps is 6'4". I don't know how significant height is compared to technique etc. More significantly, I think, is that Phelps' wingspan is 6'7" -- longer than expected given his height. I don't know about Spitz on this metric.
 
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