Friday, 29 January 2010

Top 20 Swimmers of the 2000s - No.3 - Inge de Bruijn

No. 3 - Inge de Bruijn

Performance 2000-2009

Olympics - 4 Golds, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze
Worlds - 5 Golds
WRs - 100 Free (2000-2004), 50 Free (2000-2008), 50 Fly (2000-2002), 100 Fly (2000-2009)
World Swimmer of the Year - Twice - 2000, 2001

The Number 3 spot goes to Dutch sprint sensation Inge de Bruijn. De Bruijn comes in at this lofty position due to her impressive Olympic performances, flawless World Champs record and the length of time she dominated the world sprinting events.

De Bruijn became the first woman to retain her Olympic 50m Free Gold, an impressive feat despite the relatively short time this has been on the Olympic programme. In the closest event on the Olympic programme, de Bruijn's combined winning times in Sydney and Athens added up to a staggering 0.49 seconds. (0.19 in 2000 and 0.31 in 2004). Her time in the Sydney semi-final, 24.13, remains the fastest time ever swum in a non-tech suit. In fact, whilst the men's 50m Free WR has changed by 3.37% since tech suits were introduced, Britta Steffen has only bettered de Bruijn's effort in the 50 Free by 1.66%. This percentage change is also less than the women's 100 Free and 200 Free, bucking the WR trend of the men's freestyle events.

De Bruijn also dominated sprint butterfly during the early part of the last decade. Her stunning time of 56.61 set in the Olympic final in Sydney remains the fastest ever non-tech suit time. This monumental time won her the Olympic Gold by a clear 1.36 seconds from silver medallist Martina Moravcova. De Bruijn's heat time would have been enough to win Gold in the final.

Sprint events are arguably the hardest events in swimming to dominate in and de Bruijn did exactly that. She not only won her races, she won them by clear water. I hope you enjoy reliving Inge de Bruijn's destruction of the field in the Sydney 100m Butterfly final. Pay particular attention to the afterburners in the second 50.

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