The Stopwatch Thinks Otherwise

>> Wednesday

Mark Spitz has claimed (perhaps tongue-in-cheek, perhaps really can't tell from the article) that the only person who could beat Michael Phelps is Mark Spitz. Rocky VI-style CGI duels between athletes from different eras aside, let's examine the six events that both Phelps and Spitz swam in their respective record-setting Olympics. (Note: Each one of these times set a new world record in their respective events at the time.)

Event----- Spitz in 1972 (Phelps in 2008)
200m FREE 1:52.78 (1:42.96)
100m FLY 54.27 (50.58)
200m FLY 2:00.70 (1:52.03)
4x100 FREE Relay 3:26.42 (3:08.24)
4x200 FREE Relay 7:35.78 (6:58.56)
4x100 Medley Relay 3:48.16 (3:29.34)

Say what you want about different swimsuit fabrics and different pools affecting the times, but we've seen what a big deal it is to break a world record by a half-second or so. The closest a 1972 Spitz comes to a 2008 Phelps is the nearly four seconds he would finish behind Phelps after just two lengths of the pool in the 100m Butterfly. Had Spitz's time been a finishing time in the 2008 100m Butterfly Final, it would have been in last place...only about two seconds behind Ryan Pini of Papua New Guinea.

Going either further back, it would have been the last-place time in the Semifinals for that event as well.

Note: I am in no way an expert in swimming, and realize this entire post contradicts what I wrote on.....Christ.....Monday. However, I can read a stopwatch.


Matt 3:44 AM  

Chad Johnson claimed on PTI that he could beat Michael Phelps. He raced a horse and won last year, also.

Iain 7:33 PM  

What this really sets up is Phelps vs. a dolphin in a tuna eating contest.

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