PHOENIX, Arizona, March 12. WE almost saw the fastest 200-yard freestyle in history last week at the American short course championships when Ricky Berens stepped up in the final of the 500 freestyle. Berens decided to use the race as an opportunity to chase Simon Burnett's legendary U.S. Open record of 1:31.20, and got closer than anyone ever has with an American record time of 1:31.31. Berens essentially even split the race, touching at 44.80 and coming back in 46.51. And of course, Berens used the remaining 300 yards as a warmdown, in order to make the swim count. At 24 years old, Berens is swimming faster than ever, a sign that relocating to Austin, Texas, was a good decision.
The next day, Berens posted another lifetime best of 41.90 in the 100-yard free to wrap up his meet. This can only mean good things for the man who is now the second-fastest American in the 200-meter free and one of the six fastest in the 100 free as we head into the long course season.
Congratulations, Ricky, you've won Speedo's Performance of the Week.