Ippei Watanabe Breaks 200 Breast World Record (RACE VIDEO)

Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Japan’s Ippei Watanabe broke the world record in the men’s 200 breast Sunday, becoming the first man to ever crack the 2:07-barrier in the event.

Watanabe posted a time of 2:06.67 at the Kosuke Kitajima Cup in Tokyo, breaking the 2:07.01 set by countryman Akihiro Yamaguchi in Sept. 2012.

“I’m very surprised, I didn’t think I could break a world record,” Watanabe said, according to the Associated Press. “I want to become a swimmer who can keep breaking records.”

Check out the video of Watanabe’s record-setting performance below.

Watanabe previously ranked third all-time in the event at 2:07.22, having swum that time in the semi-finals of the event at the Olympic Games last summer in Rio. He went on to finish sixth in the final a day later, but his time from Rio still stands as the Olympic record.

The performance comes, ironically, at a meet named after Kosuke Kitajima, the Japanese breaststroker who won gold in both the 100 and 200-meter distances in both Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008. Kitajima is widely regarded as one of the greatest breaststrokers of all time.

News of the record was publicized on Twitter, and Kitajima responded with congratulations to his countryman.

(Rough translation: “Congratulations Ippei Watanabe players world record. Thanks to those wonderful feelings!)

This graphic from USA Swimming High Performance Manager Russell Mark compares splits from Watanabe’s swim to recent world record-breaking performances.

USA Swimming Stats tweeted a graphic of the world record progression in the event from the last 15 years, going back to when Kitajima became the first man to break 2:10 in 2002. Kitajima and longtime rival Brendan Hansen each lowered the mark three times over that span.



  1. Ben Ruback

    Hamish Trlin Liam Albery

  2. Tim Laurens

    Megan Wolff Prinsloo showing flames!!!!

  3. Mike Lewellyn

    American breaststrokers better get off the schnide and get to work.

    • Yichen Zhou

      im a sprinter thats not gonna happen anytime soon

    • Yichen Zhou

      helena thats wat im expecting out of u

  4. Noa Cne

    sous 2:07 Kim Anh Sander c quoi ce mec ??

    • Kim Anh Sander

      Ouais c’est énorme! Au boulot hein noa ?

    • Noa Cne

      ouai c clair il va falloir venir a l’entrainement deja hein mdrr mais normalement je reviens demain

    • Noa Cne

      Kim Anh Sander va snap

  5. Owen Davies

    Rory Huggins Polly Lorimer Jack Ford

  6. Cambo James

    Alex got some work to do haha

    • Tyler Shimada

      I was just about to tag you in swimswam’s article of this

  7. Julie Bryan

    Jo Murphy Connor Bryan ?

  8. Sam Kim

    Paul Kim

  9. Jeffrey Li

    Dave Makhervaks Aaron Elhajj

  10. Alexio Dos Santos

    Nadia Blaauw Reino von Wielligh Sergio Dos Santos Samantha Blaauw Licinda Kleynhans Abie Van Oort Ludick Nel Wiehann Kock

  11. Zachary Fojtasek

    “200 breast world record” it’s a wonder he can move at all

  12. Samuel Paquin

    Simon-Pierre Bélanger Jonathan Minier Solide!!!! ?

    • Jarrett Hui

      Why is it that most Japanese swimmers are fast at breaststroke? I want that

  13. Tanner T. T. Do

    He train extremely hard when he was training at our pool.

    • Tomohiko Watanabe

      If I’m my brother, it can be swum earlier.
      What a shame!