The Other Daughter

A blog by Lara Jackson’s sister

NCAA Thursday: 3 races, 3 golds, 3 American Records

Posted by Carly Rose Jackson on April 1, 2009

The swimmers warm up.  At this level they all look as graceful as penguins underwater.  P.S. That's a compliment.

The swimmers warm up. At this level they all look as graceful as penguins underwater. P.S. That's a compliment.

Thursday is always the most exciting day for the Jacksons.  This year, Lara swam the first leg of the 200 Free Relay, the 50 Free, and the Fly leg of the 400 Medley Relay.

Let’s break that down.

200 Free Relay

200 = 200 yards (because NCAA competitions are always in pools that are 25 yards long).

Free = freestyle.  Technically the swimmers could swim any stroke they want, but since the crawl is the fastest, everybody swims the crawl.  My parents said that at less formal meets, swimmers will often swim butterfly if they want to see how fast they can go.

Relay = 4 swimmers, each swimming a quarter of the distance.  In the 200 Free Relay, each swimmer swims 50 yards.

Lara started off the 200 Free Relay, which means that her time qualifies for records.  Other legs of the relay do not qualify, but coaches and swimmers do pay attention to the times of every swimmer.   Those are called splits.

Arizona has a very strong team.  They have always done great in the relays.  The women feed off each other’s energy.  As my father said at the NCAA banquet: this team is a whole, greater than the sum of it’s parts.

Arizona broke their American record from last year in the 200 Free Relay.  Lara broke the 50-yard free American Record in the first leg of the relay.

Swimmers, in order

Split time

(in seconds)

Total time

Lara Jackson

21:27

21:27

Lindsey Kelly

21:75

43:02

Justine Schluntz

21:59

1:04.61

Taylor Baughman

21:59

1:26.20

  Lara told us later that before they swam, Taylor said, nonchalantly, “Hey, could you just lead off with an American Record, it will really lift my spirits.”

Compare Arizona times with second place, Cal. (That’s University of California at Berkeley for the laypeople.)

Swimmers, in order

Split time

(in seconds)

Total time

Liv Jensen

22.09

22.09

Hannah Wilson

21.15

43.79

Madison Kennedy

21.54

1:05.33

Dana Vollmer

21.15

1:26.48

 

(All results found here.)

If you’re paying attention, you will notice that Cal lost by 0.28 of a second.  It took me 2.92 seconds just to read that last sentence.  You will also notice that Dana Vollmer swam faster than Lara, but because she didn’t start the relay, she doesn’t get the American Record.  Lara explained to me that when you begin a leg in a relay, you have more momentum when the timer starts.  The second swimmer’s toes have to still be touching the block when the first swimmer touches the wall, but the rest of the second swimmer’s body can already be leaning over the water: momentum.  When Lara started the race, she began from a still position.  Dana Vollmer started her leg, she was moving.

Later that evening, Lara won first place in the 50-yard free.

Then, the last race of the evening was the 400 Medley Relay.  Arizona again broke their own American Record from 2008 NCAAs and won first place.

Swimmer

Stroke

Split time

(in seconds)

Total time

Ana Agy

Back

51.13

51.13

Annie Chandler

Breast

57.95

1:49.08

Lara Jackson

Fly

51.80

2:40.88

Justine Schluntz

Free

47.43

3:28.31

 

At the end of the first night, Lara swam 3 races, won 3 first place trophies, and had her name on 3 American records.

Did you see the stars on the back of my shirt?  That’s so you know: I’m with Lara.

That's me.  That's the star on my back.  Do you know who I'm with?

That's me. That's the star on my back. Do you know who I'm with?

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One Response to “NCAA Thursday: 3 races, 3 golds, 3 American Records”

  1. kaj said

    The reason a leadoff leg of a relay can count as a record, is that the leadoff swimmer starts from the blocks just as you would in an individual event. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th swimmers use a relay start. A relay start allows the swimmer to be in motion earlier as you say, but also, because you can see the swimmer in the pool as she approaches the wall, you can anticipate and time your start precisely. A typical reaction time off the blocks is .70 seconds; good sprinters like Lara, go off in .64 or .65. When Lara broke the American Record at Trials, she had a reaction time of .60; I have never seen a faster start and have only seen .60 one other time.

    Relay swimmers that swim together alot, can acheive relay reaction times of less than .15 seconds. The only requirement is that the swimmer in the water hit the wall before the next swimmer’s feet leave the blocks. It is not unusal for teams to reach relay starts below .1 seconds; that means that a relay split will be at least .50 seconds faster than a swim from a normal start.

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