The Four World Records Not Going Away Anytime Soon (Video)

Photo Courtesy: Joao Marc Bosch

The Four World Records Not Going Away Anytime Soon (Video)

As we rapidly approach the summer, which will feature several major competitions, eyes will be on world-record pursuits. Some at the World Championships. Some at the Commonwealth Games. Some at the European Championships. How many global marks will go down?

While a few marks are likely to be set, here is a look at the four current world records that are unlikely to be toppled at any point in the near future. Not surprising, each of the world records on this list was produced during the 2008-09 timeframe, when super suits took over the sport.

Michael Phelps (United States) – 400 Individual Medley (4:03.86)

It’s appropriate that Michael Phelps occupies a place on this list, and it’s fitting that the event is the long medley, which pays tribute to the GOAT’s greatness as an all-around star. Unlike the following world records on this list, which were set in full polyurethane, Phelps established this record at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in a Speedo LZR Racer. That suit, while certainly providing a boost, does not measure up to the material introduced a year later.

Phelps’ world-record time is more than a second faster than the No. 2 performance in history, the 4:05.18 mark that Ryan Lochte produced to capture gold at the 2012 Olympics in London. Phelps was spectacular throughout his swim inside the Water Cube, going out in 54.92 for the butterfly leg and covering the backstroke portion in 1:01.57. He followed with a breaststroke split of 1:10.56 and closed with a freestyle effort of 56.79.

Paul Biedermann (Germany) – 200 Freestyle (1:42.00)

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Photo Courtesy: arena

No one in a textile suit has ever cracked the 1:43 barrier, with Frenchman Yannick Agnel holding the top mark in a legitimate suit with his 1:43.14 from the 2012 Olympics. Beyond Agnel, only Michael Phelps has been under 1:44 in textile, that showing from his epic week at the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne.

And there Paul Biedermann sits as the world-record holder in a stupefying 1:42-flat. That swim arrived at the circus that was the 2009 World Championships, and came at the expense of Phelps, who watched Biedermann motorboat away from him. Biedermann was an excellent 200 freestyler, but the suit made him superhuman in the event, so much so that it will likely take years before his time is challenged.

Zhang Lin (China) – 800 Freestyle (7:32.12)

Want to see what might be the most-insane split of a race in history? Consider that on his way to the world record at the 2009 World Championships in Rome, Zhang Lin covered the front half of his 800 freestyle in 3:46.79, with the last 400 meters spanned in 3:45.33. Those last eight laps would have qualified for the final of the 400 freestyle at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The textile best in the event is more than six seconds slower, and that mark of 7:38.57 by Sun Yang must – in itself – be deemed suspect, due to its owner’s history of doping irregularities. In textile, the next-best effort is the 7:38.65 of Aussie distance legend Grant Hackett, who generated that performance on the way to his 400-800-1500 triple at the 2005 World Championships in Montreal.

Liu Zige – 200 Butterfly (2:01.81)

This thing isn’t going anywhere for a long time. When Chinese standout Liu Zige posted this performance at her country’s National Games, it was appropriate for those in and around the sport to chuckle. Yes, that’s how ridiculous this record is, and how unimaginable it would have been if not for the introduction of suit material that made athletes seemingly hydroplane on top of the water.

Liu’s record is more than two seconds faster than the textile standard in the event, which sits at 2:03.86 to China’s Zhang Yufei. By the way, that 2:03-high was delivered en route to the Olympic title in 2020 in Tokyo. Adding to the absurdity of the record is that Liu touched in 58.08 at the 100-meter mark.

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Kim
1 month ago

Lukas Märtens will break the 200 free, no later than in Paris 2024.

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