The pool where I used to train had a large poster with the US Olympic Trials cut times. When I was kicking I would always take a look. One thing stood out, the men’s distance race is 1500 meters, which I would expect, and the women race an 800. What?
I asked the Aquajets coach about it and she confirmed that men and women race different ‘distance’ events at the Olympics. Obviously it took a dreadfully long time for the International Olympic Committee to figure out women could indeed run the same distance events as men. Why do we still have different distances in the pool? I do not know the history – perhaps someone out there is familiar with this issue. Shouldn’t someone at the IOC say, ‘oh it’s about time we squared away those swim events’?
This past weekend my girlfriend and I had a great evening watching the final night of the Women’s Big Ten Swim meet. Incredible performances. The first event of the night was the fast heat of the mile,1650 yards. I watched a Gopher (who is from St. Paul!) get second. She went out in about 25 and proceeded to knock out 28 after 28 (second 50s) eventually slowing in the second half to 29s. Final time a few seconds over 16 minutes. How many of us can break 5 minutes in a 500 yard swim? I can’t. Here was an athlete doing just that three times in a row with a bonus 150 at the end. It was awesome to watch but it wasn’t fast enough to win and it wasn’t close to the school record. Yet somehow none of the geniuses at the IOC believe women ought to have the chance to race a proper distance event. Are they too busy at the IOC to review these types of issues? Are they simply uninterested in updating and improving the games? Is there some sort of valid reason to have women race 800 instead of 1500 that I am not aware of? Does this annoy anyone else?