100m Freestyle


I grew up with competitive swimming, a sport that chugs along in relative obscurity except for two weeks every four years. We’re now in the midst of Olympic madness, and I’m enjoying (sort of) the intense media focus on aquatics. It’s great to be able to see the races on TV, but a lot of the color commentary is just silly.

Perhaps because my expectations are so low, I was blown away by a “data story” in the New York Times looking at a history of 100m Freestyle champions.

Info-graphics are often used to “dress up” to an otherwise dry data set… but this is different. Using a digital 3d model of a pool filled with swimmers, and an animated storyline, the author helps put some context around an astonishing fact: these sprinters keep getting faster. For all you swimming fans out there, this one’s worth a look.


Joshua Cohen is a Principal at Fat Pencil Studio