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Lia Thomas Might Be Winning, But She's Not Swimming That Fast

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Newsweek analysed the last 10 seasons' fastest times in the women's 500-yard freestyle, as well as the fastest times in the NCAA championship women's 500-yard freestyle for the last decade, using data from SwimCloud.The data suggests that while Thomas was the fastest swimmer in that category this season, she actually would have been the fastest swimmer in only one of the last 10 seasons.

In most of those previous years, her fastest time would only have got her to second at the most, and in one year she would have come as low as 12th.The only other season she would have gotten the fastest time was in 2019 to 2020.

That year, Emma Nordin of Arizona State University recorded the fastest time at 04:33.74. Thomas's best time in the 2021/2022 season was 04:33.24.In the 2016-2017 season, Thomas's 2021-2022 time would have ranked her 12th.

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