2012 Olympic Trials Progressions


Missy Franklin in the prelims of the100 back at 2012 Trials (Small for Web)BY KATIE ARNOLD // HIGH PERFORMANCE CONSULTANT

In the weeks and months that follow an Olympic Games, we spend a lot of time looking at who made the team and how they got there. One of the things I have been looking at recently is the progressions these athletes follow during Olympic Trials.

What I found is that whether they are first-time Olympians, or decorated Olympic veterans, they all tend to have a few things in common. The majority of these athletes swim faster than their entry times to make the Olympic Team, and in general they swim faster as they progress through prelims, semis and finals.

I looked at results from prelims, semis and finals swims for the athletes who qualified in the top two spots for all events (52 spots total). The following are my observations based on this data.

Out of 52 swimmers who qualified first or second in an event: 

  • 33 swam faster than their entry time
  • 45 swam faster in semis than they did in prelims
  • 49 swam faster in finals than they did in semis
  • All swam faster in finals than they did in prelims 

Something interesting to note about these statistics is that three swimmers (Missy Franklin, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps) accounted for 12 of the 52 spots. While these athletes were responsible for 9 of the 19 spots that did not improve upon their entry times, they all performed better as they went on through prelims, semis and finals.

To see the detailed progressions for each event, click here.

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