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What Makes a Race Good?

By Andrew Mering, SwimSwam, 01/11/19, 12:00PM CST

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Close races, comebacks, back and forth relays. These types of things make the race itself compelling. Uncertainty about the outcome throughout makes a race exciting.

Last Friday, SwimSwam published our Swammy Awards Top 10 Swims of the Year. The number one race was the men’s medley relay at the Asian Games. In a year when so many records were set, the reaction in the comments was confusion. Why that race? The times were fast, but wouldn’t have medaled at the last Olympics. The Asian Games? Not exactly the deepest meet of the year.

So, why was that the choice? Simply put: it was a great race (I played no part in determining the contents of the Top 10 Swims list, but I think it was a worthy choice for the top spot). It was a back and forth race between two top tier countries at a meaningful meet. That’s the best we can ask for as fans of a sport about racing.