By Matt Barbini//National Team High Performance Consultant
At last weekend’s Mesa Grand Prix, I had a number of conversations with various people about how the meet “felt like” the beginning of the ramp up to World Championship Trials. As is to be expected in a post-Olympic year, there has been a bit of a hangover at the first few meets on the Grand Prix circuit. For a number of reasons – strong international field, new location and facility, summer-like conditions, big crowds – Mesa seemed to mark a change in approach and intensity.
However, when I returned home I had a question. Had the meet been comparatively fast or had it just felt fast due to the competitive environment and preceding competitions? To find out I compared the results of the top three finishers in each event from last weekend to the 2012 Indianapolis Grand Prix which took place just about a week earlier last year.
The answer? Yes… And no.
The results were a completely mixed bag. Of the 26 combined events in the Grand Prix program, the winner from last weekend would have won the same event last year in six instances (23%). In six other events second and/or third place from this year’s meet would have captured the same spot or higher last year. So in a purely objective sense last year’s Indy Grand Prix was quite a bit faster. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Based on a somewhat subjective analysis of finishing times, over 50% of the events were very close in terms of first through third place. For example, see the results of the men’s 100 fly and women’s 100 free below:
On the other hand, in some events, such as the women’s 200 breaststroke and men’s 400 IM, there was a much larger disparity, leading me to say that the answer to the question is both yes and no. (To see the full breakdown of times please click HERE). Of course it’s important to note that there are a number of factors beyond the Olympic effect influencing these results such as the event in question, training cycles, individual event programs, among others. My point, in a general sense is that the swimming from Mesa indicates that we are trending in the right direction and building toward a very fast summer at the two remaining Grand Prixs and our major domestic and international meets.