Lukas Märtens Scares 400 Free World Record In 3:40.33 At German Championships; Goes Fourth All-Time

Lukas Martens of Germany competes in the Men's Freestyle 1500m Heats during the 20th World Aquatics Championships at the Marine Messe Hall A in Fukuoka (Japan), July 25th, 2023.
Lukas Märtens: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Lukas Märtens 0.26 Outside 400 Free World Record In 3:40.33 At German Championships; Goes Fourth All-Time

Lukas Märtens was just 0.26secs outside Paul Biedermann’s 400 free world record as he powered to a time of 3:40.33 at the German Championships in Berlin.

Biedermann went 3:40.07 at the 2009 World Championships in Rome at the height of the supersuit era with Märtens moving up to fourth in the all-time rankings – with the sixth-fastest performance – behind his fellow German, Australian great Ian Thorpe (3:40.08) and Sun Yang (3:40.14).


Märtens: 52.37; 1:48.59; 2:44.81; 3:40.33

Biedermann: 54.42; 1:51.02; 2:47.17; 3:40.07

The effect of the supersuits is plain to see with Biedermann splitting 52.90 (27.13/25.77) on the final 100 and Märtens going 55.52 (28.12/27.40) with a 2.36sec margin over the WR at 300 and still inside it at the final turn saw him fall just shy.

All-Time Rankings

3:40.07: Paul Biedermann, 2009 World Championships

3:40.08: Ian Thorpe, 2002 Commonwealth Games

3:40.14: Sun Yang, 2012 Olympic Games

3:40.33: Lukas Märtens, 2024 German Championships

3:40.68: Sam Short, 2023 World Championships


Lukas Märtens: Photo Courtesy: Andrea Masini / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

It was a huge PB for the European champion whose previous best stood at 3:41.60 from the 2022 Swim Open Stockholm and destroyed his season’s best of 3:42.96 en-route to bronze at the Doha worlds in February behind Kim Woomin (3:42.71) and Elijah Winnington (3:42.86).

Coached by Bernd Berkhahn, Märtens now stands more than a second clear at the top of the 2024 rankings ahead of Winnington (3:41.41) and Sam Short (3:41.64).

The 22-year-old hoisted himself on to the lane ropes before telling reporters: “What was that?

“I looked at the scoreboard and thought a 3:42 would be a good time, but a 3:40, that can’t be.”

Märtens – 400 free medallist at the last three World Championships – will find himself in the spotlight in the lead-up to to the Olympics although the Australians are still to hold their trials.

Of being favourite for gold, he added: “I didn’t expect things to go so well now. But I continue to set my own goals and I do well to keep an eye on them.”

Following Märtens home were Sven Schwarz (3:46.37) and Henning Mühlleitner (3:49.08)

Joining Märtens in Paris on the 400 free will be Oliver Klemet who’d posted 3:42.81 the previous week.

The Berlin meet is the last chance for swimmers to book their place on the team for Paris 2024 with qualification for the European Championships in Belgrade in June and the European juniors in Vilnius, Lithuania, also up for grabs.

Märtens produced his shuddering swim in the final individual race of the evening in Berlin after Isabel Gose had rattled her German record in the women’s 400.

Gose punched her ticket to Paris following top-three finishes over 400, 800 and 1500 at the 2024 World Championships in Doha and she dominated the eight-length race in 4:02.48, 0.09 outside the national record of 4:02.39 she set en-route to bronze at the 2024 worlds.

Leonie Märtens – Lukas’ younger sister and already inside the 4:07.90 cut with a previous effort of 4:07.69 – was second in 4:08.84 and confirmed the siblings would both travel to the French capital with Leonie Kullmann next home in 4:09.23.

Köhler Flies To Victory

Angelina Kohler of Germany celebrates after compete in the 100m Butterfly Women Semifinals during the FINA Swimming Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, December 17th, 2022. Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Angelina Köhler: Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Angelina Köhler has collected world and European silverware over the last four months, topped by her 100 fly gold at the 2024 World Championships.

The 23-year-old won gold and silver in the 200 and 100 fly respectively at the 2023 European Short-Course Championships before adding more silverware over two lengths in Doha.

There she set a German record of 56.41 in prelims and lowered her standard once more with 56.11 in the semis before going 56.28 for gold ahead of Claire Curzan and Louise Hansson.

Already selected for Paris, Köhler reached halfway in 26.28 – 1.23secs ahead of Linda Roth in second – and pulled away with a 30.93 second 50 to touch in 57.61.

Alina Baievych – who won 200 fly silver at the 2023 European Junior Championships – came past Roth to take second in 1:00.42 to 1:00.62.

Luca Armbruster was an agonising 0.01 outside the cut in the men’s 100 fly.

Out in 23.84 and back in 27.84, Armbruster stopped the clock in 51.68, a sliver outside the 51.67 required to book a slot in the individual event although it did mean he is on the plane on the men’s 4×1 medley relay.

Eric Friese (51.89) and Peter Varjasi (52.21) were second and third respectively.

Wins For Braunschweig & Büssing 

Ole Braunschweig all but punched his ticket for the French capital when he posted 53.48 in the prelims at last weekend’s Berlin Swim Open, well inside the 53.74 QT.

On Thursday, the European 50 back bronze medallist led throughout to win in 54.21 for the national title ahead of Marek Ulrich who claimed silver ahead of the fast-finishing Cornelius Jahn in 54.43 to 54.48.

Laura Riedemann won the women’s 100 back in 1:01.34 and she will make the trip to Paris.

Cedric Büssing went inside the men’s 400IM QT in 4:12.33 at the Eindhoven Qualification Meet earlier this month and he dominated in Berlin in 4:12.56 with a winning margin of 8.48secs over Finn Hammer (4:21.04).

The first three women in the 400IM were separated by 0.66 with Noelle Benkler leading them home in 4:48.07 after going ahead at halfway.

Behind her came Kim Herkle on 4:48.20 with Sophie Lenze coming from sixth at 100m to move through the field for third in 4:48.73.



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