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Old 09-02-2016
sojomojo sojomojo is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2012
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Default Lane Assignment = Speed Advantage or Disadvantage

In the 2016 Rio Olympics, as the #16 finisher in the 100-meter freestyle preliminary heats, Nathan Adrian was the last qualifier for the semi-final. As the last qualifier, Adrian was assigned the outside lane #8. I wasn’t too optimistic that Adrian would qualify for the final. When Adrian found out that he just barely made the semi-final, he said he preferred lane #8 since the water was “calmer.” Adrian must have known something since he finished #1 in his semi-final heat. In the final, he finished third for the bronze medal. From #16 finisher in the preliminary heats to a bronze medal winner - I thought that was an amazing accomplishment.

As I read this article about lane assignment, I thought about what Adrian said about being happy at getting lane #8 in the semi-final. Adrian didn't need no scientist to tell him that there are advantages to getting certain lane assignments.
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Old 09-02-2016
Danny Danny is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,442

most of us who swim regularly at any pool notice sooner or later differences in the lanes. At the pool I swim in, the vents are at about a depth of 2-3 feet below the surface. I don't know if the current set up by these vents would be detectable by jugs floating on the surface, but I can certainly feel them as I approach the wall. One assumes that an olympic competition pool would be much deeper than my pool and the vents could also be set much deeper, but the statistics in your article do seem to point to something funny going on.
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Old 09-03-2016
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Funnily enough there was an article on SwimSwam which said that when all the splits were evaluated very consistently swimmers were faster in on direction than the other. The pool manufacturers denied any current issue in the pool but its certainly possible. I imagine even in an Olympic class pool you must still get some 'bounce' off the walls.

The pool I swim at now is more of a leisure pool than competition standard so it has some crazy currents. Going one way as I approach the vent its like swimming into the wind. You also get some left-right push. But I get to play with a pretty vicious wave machine every now and again which lets me practice my balance and effortless breathing in pretty serious swell which has given me a lot of confidence in swimming the TI way in even rough water
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