By Russell Mark // National Team High Performance Consultant
The ideal tempo is uniquely individual and the wide breadth of tempos that can lead to success can be seen so well at 2012 US Olympic Trials. Elite swimmers of different sizes, strengths, techniques lend themselves to equally different tempos, but similarly fast results.
The graphs below do a step better than just telling you a range. Each point represents the average tempo of a different swimmer, so you can see where the clusters are, as well as the outliers. The top 3 swimmers for each event are also noted.
* Tempo is in units seconds per cycle
** The data set is the best performance of the top 8 performers from prelims, semifinals, and finals
Please note that tempos change within every race and length. How tempos changes is for the scope of another article. Also note that how tempos change as an athlete grows and matures is an important topic that needs to be addressed.