Learn how to split your races: 100 Breaststroke

In conclusion of our examination of race splitting and pacing techniques we will examine the 100 breaststroke at Nationals. As you can see, like the 100 Butterfly, the other short-axis stroke, we seem to see closer splitting by the male athletes. I have included an column that takes Jessica Hardy out of the data due to the unusual splitting she had during that particular race (a 7.2 second drop off!).

The most interesting thing about this information is that breaststroke has a significantly greater drop off than any of the other three strokes!

As you can quickly see, the drop offs are much higher than any other stroke. I think this happens for two reasons:

  1. Breaststroke is a much slower stroke and thus its drop off between 50’s will be more impacted on the first lap by having a start off of the starting blocks.
  2. Breaststroke, like fly is a less efficient stroke than the long-axis strokes, which creates a higher drop off between the 50’s.

This still does not explain why men and women split races the so differently in the short-axis and long-axis strokes. Ultimately, it must come down to the differences in physiology.