Pushing the Boundaries in 2018: Three of the Most Breakable Suited World Records

Caeleb Dressel
Photo Courtesy: Dan D'Addona

By Kevin Donnelly, Swimming World College Intern.

Last week at the Sette Colli Trophy in Rome, Italy, we saw Andrii Govorov break the world record in the men’s 50-meter butterfly. He clocked a new record of 22.27 to smash the old record of 22.43. The significance of the old record was that it was held by Rafael Munoz, who set it back in 2009 during the “suit era” of the sport.

Govorov’s new record leaves 17 long course world records still in the books. Many of these appear to be untouchable at the moment, given the trends of the sport and the athletes competing in those events; however, a few records jump out as some that could fall in the near future. Here are three records to be on the lookout for this coming summer.

1. Men’s 100 Butterfly (WR: 49.82, Michael Phelps, 2009)


Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since Michael Phelps and Milorad Cavic cracked the 50-second barrier back in Rome at the 2009 World Championships, nobody else had truly come close to their wake. It appeared that record would be safe for quite a while. That is, until Caeleb Dressel took to the pool at the 2017 World Championships in Budapest, winning gold in the event with a time of 49.86.

Dressel won the NCAA title in the 100-yard butterfly this year in a new American Record of 42.80, far faster than the time in which he won the year prior, which could mean that his butterfly has improved even more since his 49.86 from last summer. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see Dressel down that mark.

2. Women’s 4×200 Freestyle Relay (WR: 7:42.08, China, 2009)


Photo Courtesy: SIPA USA

Both the men’s and the women’s 200 freestyles and 4×200 freestyle relay records are still in the books from the suit era; however, the women’s 4×200 appears to be the most attainable record. Last summer at the 2017 World Championships, Team USA won the race with a time of 7:43.39, which means that each swimmer would only need to drop about four tenths of a second to get under the current record.

With Katie Ledecky in peak form and potentially working her way well under the 1:54 barrier on her split (she split a 1:54.02 anchoring Team USA last summer), this record could easily fall. Even then, it’ll take four strong legs to crack the mark.

3. Men’s 50 Freestyle (WR: 20.91, Cesar Cielo, 2009)

Cesar Cielo 100 free semis Doha 2014

Photo Courtesy: FINA Doha 2014

Cesar Cielo‘s 20.91 remains one of the most impressive marks on the record book, as the sheer thought of anyone being capable of swimming under 21 seconds in a long course 50 free seems nearly impossible to most of the swimming community.

But Dressel has made the impossible appear feasible in a short-course pool. After his success at the 2017 World Championships, it’s not unlikely that he does it again this summer. With a best time of 21.15 in meters and a mind-boggling 17.63 in yards (nearly a second faster than anyone else has ever been), Dressel could easily become the next man under 21 seconds – perhaps even the next man under the world record mark.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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