2015 World Championships Preview: Men’s 200 Backstroke


  • Day 6, Friday August 7th (Day 11)
  • 2013 World Champion: Ryan Lochte, USA – 1:53.79
  • 2013 Silver Medalist: Radoslaw Kawecki, POL – 1:54.24
  • 2013 Bronze Medalist: Tyler Clary, USA – 1:54.61

With Kosuke Hagino of Japan and American Ryan Lochte not participating in this race the favourites to win the gold will be Ryosuke Irie of Japan and Amerian Tyler Clary. The two man have ended up on the podium together at the 2010 Pan Pacific Games, 2011 World Championships, 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.

Having said that there are many new comers who have made breakthroughs in the past two years along with a number of veterans who will be aiming to knock both Clary and Irie off of the podium.

2014-2015 LCM Men 200 Back

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The last time that Clary and Irie went headed to head the American got the best of the Japanese star winning the gold at the Pan Pacific Championships in a time of 1:54.91 beating Irie by 23 one-hundredths of a second.

Since breaking on to the scene in 2011, winning a bronze at the World Championships, Clary has been one of the consisent performers in this event consistent putting up times that have finished top three in the world ranking and challenging for the top spot on the podium at every international competition he has competed in.

Clary earned the most coveted  prized in any event, Olympic gold, in 2012, but a World Championship is an accomplishment he has not yet been able to achieve.

Clary quickest time in 2015 is a 1:58.43, but one should not read anything into this as he has always been preppared for the most important competitions of any season..

Irie has won medals at the Pan Pacific Championships, World Championships and Olympics, but the one thing that has alluded him is standing atop the podium at a major international competition.

He had a fantastic 2014 improving his 50, 100 and 200 backstroke lifetime best times by significant amounts. Irie improve his time in 200 from a 1:53.78 to a 1:53.26, which he posted winning the Asian Games.

Although he was able to earn gold at the Asian Games with a strong performance when facing off against Clary at the Pan Pacific Championships he had a lack luster performace recording a 1:55.14..

Irie has the fastest lifetime best in the field and will be coming into the World Championships with the top ranked time in the world. He will once again have a chance to beat Clary in a head to head match up and with the improvements he has made over the last year it is something that he may do in Kazan.

Xu Jiayu of China is one of the most improved swimmers in the field improving this lifetime best in the event by over three full seconds in the last three years.

For the first time in 2014 Xu was able to earn a medal at one of the tope competitions in the world, collecting a silver finishing second to Irie at the Asian Games.

With the type of improvement that Xu has shown, not only in the 200, but in the shorter events as well, could be a sign of what is to come. He has the abilty to earn a medal and will be a long shot to knock either Clary or Irie off one of the two top spots on the podium.

Radoslaw Kawecki of Poland is another athlete in the field that has had a considerable amount of success on the international stage.

He captured the gold at the 2014 European Championships as well as silver at the 2013 World Championships. He has also made the finals at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games.

Kawecki has a lifetime best of 1:54.24 which he recorded in Barcelona where he finished second to Lochte.

In 2013 Kawecki outswam both Clary and Irie and will no doubt come into Kazan with a great amount of confidence that he can do that once again.

American Ryan Murphy finished the 2014 season with the world’s seventh fastest time of 1:55.73. Murphy posted that the time in the prelims of the Pan Pacific Championships, where he ultimately finished fourth.

The 20 year old Murphy, who attends the University of Californa, has not only had success at the NCAA, but has progressively moved through the ranks on the international level. In 2011 he won bronze at both the World Junior Championships and Pan American Games as well as earning the same colour of medal at the 2012 World Short Course Championships.

Murphy also picked a bronze at the Pan Pacific Championships in the 100 backstroke.

He will have his sights on a medal in Kazan, but will need to drop a significant amount of time if he be able to stand on the podium.

Australian Mitch Larkin dropped a significant amount of time in 2012 improving his lifetime from a 1:59.09 to a 1:56.82. He then made another significant improvement in 2014 dropping his lifetime best to a 1:55.26.

Unlike his first Olympics, where he finished eighth, his first World Championships 2013 did not go as well. He recorded a 1:59.34 finishing 17th in Barcelona.

Last summer Larkin won the Commonwealth gold and finished third at the Pan Pacific Championhips behind Clary and Irie.

After having that type of success last summer Larkin will also be a swimmer who will have a shot at standing on the podium in Kazan.

Australian Joshua Beaver has made steady improvement over the last three years, taking a second to a second and a half off of his time each season. He will come into Kazan with lifetime best is a 1:56.19.

Beaver took the silver at the Commonwealth Games finishing second to fellow countryman Larkin. He also finished third in the 100 backstroke in Glasgow.

He finished fifth in the event at the Pan Pacific Championships also ended the season with ninth fastest time in the world.


  1. Ryosuke Irie, JPN –                          1:53.54
  2. Tyler Clary, USA –                             1:54.00
  3. Xu Jiayu, CHN –                                1:54.38
  4. Radoslaw Kawecki, POL  –              1:54.42
  5. Mitch Larkin, AUS –                         1:54.83
  6. Ryan Murphy, USA –                        1:54.98
  7. Peter Bernek, HUN –                          1:55.01
  8. Evgeny Rylov, RUS –                         1:56.44

Dark Horse: Grigory Tarasevich, RUS


Day 1, Sun August 2nd (Day 9)

Day 2, Mon August 3rd (Day 10)

Day 3, Tue August 4th (Day 11)

Day 4, Wed August 5th (Day 12)

Day 5, Thur August 6th (Day 13)

Day 6, Fri August 7th (Day 14)

Day 7, Sat August 8th (Day 15)

Day 8, Sun August 9th (Day 16)

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Philip Johnson

I think Irie will win his first world title in the 200 back. It’s his for the taking!

Rick Mears

Agreed! He may even win by over a full second. We still have people clinging to the hope that Ryan Murphy is going to break through, which he may very well do, but I’ve been let down the past three years thinking that.


I put Murphy as favourite in my picks followed by Irie , Clary , Vyatchanin and Larkin . Murphy did have some lane line touches last year so he wasn’t fully with the best on the second 100 . I see him doing may better next week . Vyatchanin will probably be very dangerous as he is finally competing for a new country . A very tight race in perspective .


1: Irie 1:53.5
2: Murphy: 1:53.9
3: Clary or Xu: 1:54.2
Murphy’s best time came from an outdoor pool in bad conditions so he hit the lane lines a lot, if he can swim straight he can definitely pop a sub 1:54 and challenge Irie.

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

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