Member Resources

Men's Freestyle Stroke Tempos


James Magnussen and Nathan Adrian swimming the 100 free at Worlds.BY RUSSELL MARK // HIGH PERFORMANCE CONSULTANT

Tempo is an involved topic, but for mature senior athletes and their coaches, having at least an awareness of tempo can be valuable. Developmental age group athletes should focus on technique first and foremost (i.e. stroke count and distance per stroke). Tempo can be an additional thought only after technique is established.

Some coaches use tempo as a regular training measure, and these numbers show what the best in the country are racing at. Here the tempos for the top 8 male performers at 2012 US Olympic Trials. Next week: Women’s Freestyle Tempos by event.

Important points:

  • Individuals who swim multiple distances have slower tempos for the longer races.
  • Tempos tend to slow down within each length and race. In general, aim to maintain tempo during a length. You do not want to start too quick and fade at the end.
  • While these numbers can be used as a guideline, tempo is very specific to the individual and will vary with technique and body type/size.

Tempo is being displayed as seconds per cycle. (Cycle = two arm strokes)


Mens Freestyle Tempos 


The range of tempos is quite large for some events, so this chart shows the 8 different tempos for each event:


Mens Freestyle Tempo Graph.

ArenaBMWMarriottMyrtha PoolsOmegaPhillips 66SpeedoTYR