16 Year Old Leah Hayes Sets New World Junior Record in 200 IM with 2:08.91



  • World Record: 2:06.12, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2015 World Championships
  • Championship Record: 2:06.12, Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2015 World Championships
  • 2021 Olympic Champion: Yui Ohashi (JPN), 2:08.52
  • 2019 World Champion: Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:07.53
  1. Alex Walsh (USA) – 2:07.13
  2. Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – 2:08.57
  3. Leah Hayes (USA)- 2:08.91
  4. Rika Omoto (JPN) – 2:10.01
  5. Anastasia Gorbenko (ISR) – 2:11.02
  6. Seoyeong Kim (KOR) – 2:11.30
  7. Katinka Hosszu (HUN) – 2:11.37
  8. Mary-Sophie Harvey (CAN) – 2:12.77

16-year-old Leah Hayes set a new World Junior Record in the 200 IM swimming a time of 2:08.91 in the finals of the 200 IM at the 2022 World Championships. She also earned a bronze medal in the process.

Hayes broke the World Junior Record previously held by Yiting Yu who swam a time of 2:09.57 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Hayes came into the meet with a best time of 2:09.99 which she swam at the 2022 US World Championship Trials back in April 2022. She then went a best time in prelims of the 200 IM at Worlds swimming a 2:09.81 breaking her own 15-16 National Age Group (NAG) Record. In semifinals, Hayes swam a time of 2:09.82 to be seeded second heading into finals.

Hayes Finals Hayes Prelims Hayes April 2022 Old WJR- Yu
Fly 28.16 28.34 28.21 27.22
Back 32.56 33.05 33.05 33.2
Breast 37.39 37.44 37.63 37.94
Free 30.8 30.98 31.1 31.21
Total 2:08.91 2:09.81 2:09.99 2:09.57

Notably, Hayes was consistently faster on all four of her 50-stroke splits than she had been previously. The biggest difference was her 50 backstroke which was 0.49 seconds faster than she had been in both prelims at Worlds and in finals in April.

Hayes’s swim also re-breaks her own 15-16 NAG record. Hayes now becomes the fastest American 18 and under as well. Previously, tonight’s gold medalist Alex Walsh held the fastest American 18 and under time as she swam a 2:09.01 at age 18. Tonight’s swim also makes Hayes the youngest American under the 2:09 mark.

Overall, Hayes now moves up from 13th in the US all-time to number eight.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 months ago

Such a fantastic kid too! So proud to have her representing the US and Illinois Swimming!

9 months ago

It’s seems rare to see an elite IMer whose weakest stroke appears to be fly. It guarantees you will spend the whole race playing catch up, but she seems to have found a way to make it work. Can’t wait to see how continues to progress. (The fact is she from the Fox River Valley is just icing on the cake!)

Last edited 9 months ago by frug
Reply to  frug
9 months ago

I feel like Olympic 400 IM
Champions Alex Baumman, Janet Evans, and a few others all had fly as their fourth best stroke. So I’m not sure how rare it is?

Reply to  LBSWIM
9 months ago

Ye shewin fly I felt like was her week stroke

9 months ago

Alex Walsh better watch out .. her own teammate could usurp her position in a year or two

9 months ago

hope she commits to UVA!

9 months ago

What a trajectory! Administrative note: Time for SwimSwam to have a picture of Leah to include in your “In This Story” section. She’s here to stay!

9 months ago

Put Leah Hayes on that 4×200 relat

9 months ago

Summer is coming for that recorded…but we celebrate you

Joel Lin
9 months ago

Torri Huske
Claire Curzan
Alex Walsh
Gretchen Walsh
Katherine Berkoff
Kate Douglass
Leah Hayes
Katie Grimes
Regan Smith
Emma Weyant
Kelly Pash
Erica Sullivan
Lydia Jacoby

(Apologies for no doubt missing some more names just from the top of my head here.)

All of the above will all be at the peaks of their swimming careers in 2024. Might be a wildest wild prediction, but USA women in Paris 2024 could be the greatest Olympic team ever for me or women in the sport of swimming. My bet is it will be.

Reply to  Joel Lin
9 months ago

The best team ever that can’t even win all 3 relays?! No thank you

Reply to  Joel Lin
9 months ago

leah hayes might have her peak at la 2028

Reply to  Joel Lin
9 months ago

I feel the 1992 Team will always be the greatest women’s team. Studs

About Anya Pelshaw

Anya Pelshaw

Anya has been with SwimSwam since June 2021 as both a writer and social media coordinator. She was in attendance at the 2022 Women's NCAA Championships writing and doing social media for SwimSwam. Currently, Anya is pursuing her B.A. in Government & Law and Economics at Lafayette College. There she is …

Read More »