ASTON, Pennsylvania, September 27. WHERE has the time gone? That’s a question that can be asked these days, due to the fact that a spectacular world record just experienced its 17th anniversary. Yes, it has been nearly two decades since Janet Evans roared to a 4:03.85 clocking in the 400-meter freestyle. That swim, recorded on September 22, 1988, secured Evans the gold medal at the Seoul Olympics.
Because of the anniversary of that swim having just passed, it seemed like an appropriate time to pay the record some well-deserved homage. Unreal as a complete swim, looking at the race in segments is more impressive. Why? Well, take a glance at the splits. Going out in 2:02.14, Evans negatively split the race, as she covered the last half in an eye-popping 2:01.71.
While Evans broke 4:05 one other time during her illustrious career, in the form of a 4:04.53 effort, no other woman in history has broken through that barrier. The closest athlete to accomplishing the feat was China’s Yan Chen, who clocked 4:05.00 in 1997. At the Athens Olympics, France’s Laure Manaudou made a solid run, but finished in 4:05.34.
Will Evans’ standard ever go down? Well, as the adage goes, records are made to be broken. In the meantime, however, take a moment to digest her feat during this anniversary period.