Analyzing Improvement in the Olympic Final in the Men’s and Women’s 100 Meter Freestyle and the 400 Meter Freestyle


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In the modern era, beginning in 1956, we analyze the average time in the top 8 in the Olympic Final, through the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

In the Men’s 100 Free:

From 1956 through 1968 – (4 Olympiads) – the improvement in the average of the top 8 swimmers was 3.5 seconds.

From 1972 through 1984 – (4 Olympiads) – the improvement of the average of the top 8 swimmers was 1.7 seconds.

From 1988 through 2004 – (5 Olympiads) – the improvement of the average of the top 8 swimmers was 1.1 seconds.

Comparing 2004 to 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing – the improvement in the average of the top 8 swimmers was 1.1 seconds (in one Olympiad!)

In the Women’s 100 Free:

56 to 68 – improvement is 3.8 seconds.

72 to 84 – improvement is 2.9 seconds.

88 to 04 – improvement is 1.6 seconds.

04 to 08 – Improvement is .4 seconds.

In the Men’s 400 Free:

56-68 – Improvement is 17.9 seconds

72-84 – Improvement is 10.2 seconds

88 to 04 – Improvement is 2.7 seconds.

O4-08 – Improvement is 2.2 seconds.

In the Women’s 400 Free:

56-68 – Improvement is 22.6 seconds.

72-84 – Improvement is 11.8 seconds.

88 to 04 – Improvement is 2.0 seconds

04-08 – Improvement is 2.4 seconds.

Discussion: In the Men’s 100 free, 400 free and women’s 400 free, the outlandish influence of either Technical suits or doping (or both) is very clear.

The Women’s 100 free is perfectly in line with predictable improvement, consistent with the past 5 Olympiads, WITHOUT the technical suit. Does this mean that in reality, the 100 free was SLOWER than the previous years? Did the suit somehow NOT affect this event significantly? An interesting question exists here.

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