23 World Records Broken in Doha; 2008-2009 Suited Era Withering Away

An astonishing 23 World Records were broken in 5 days of competition in Doha, Qatar this weekend at the 2014 World Short Course Swimming Championships.

That’s as compared to just World Records that were broken in 2012 in Istanbul – which is probably due primarily to a post-Olympic hangover two years ago that saw many athletes longer to get back into shape after the summer championship season.

After this meet, there are now just 33 World Records left, between long course and short course, men and women, that remain from 2009 and just four from 2008. Those two years were the heart of the “super-suit” era, where nearly every World Record was broken multiple times, with literally hundreds of World Record swims.

FINA currently recognizes World Records in 90 pool swimming events, meaning that for the first time in five years, less than half of the FINA World Records were set in the super-suit era:

  • 15/20 LC Men
  • 8/20 LC Women
  • 0/2 LC Mixed*
  • 10/23 SC Men
  • 4/23 SC Women
  • 0/2 SC Mixed
* – the mixed relays were not recognized as World Record events by FINA during the supersuit era.
The men’s long course swimmers still have some work to do on their World Records, but other than that, the supersuit era and the world of “textile bests” is becoming less-and-less pertinent with each passing year.
The full list of World Records that were broken in Doha (continued below):
MEN Swimmer Country Time
50 free Florent Manaudou France 20.26
50 back Florent Manaudou France 22.22
100 fly Chad le Clos South Africa 48.44
100 IM Markus Deibler Germany 50.66
200 free Relay Russia Russia 1:22.60
200 medley relay (prelims) Russia Russia 1:32.78
200 medley relay Brazil Brazil 1:30.51
200 free Sarah Sjostrom Sweden 1:50.78
50 back Etiene Medeiros Brazil 25.67
100 back Katinka Hosszu Hungary 55.03
200 back Katinka Hosszu Hungary 1:59.23
100 breast Alia Atkinson Jamaica 1:02.36 (tied)
100 fly Sarah Sjostrom Sweden 54.61
200 fly Mireia Belmonte Spain 1:59.61
100 IM Katinka Hosszu Hungary 56.7
200 IM Katinka Hosszu Hungary 2:01.86
400 IM Mireia Belmonte Spain 4:19.86
200 free relay (prelims) Netherlands Netherlands 1:35.64
200 free relay Netherlands Netherlands 1:34.24
400 free relay Netherlands Netherlands 3:26.53
800 free relay Netherlands Netherlands 7:32.85
200 medley relay Denmark Denmark 1:44.04
200 free relay United States United States 1:28.57

As for those records that remain, those 33 noble souls, they have a huge target squarely on their backs.

A debate about “which will last the longest” would be a raging one if every side decided to dig their heels in, because there’s a lot of records that seem almost untouchable – Phelps’ 400 IM, Liu Zige’s 2:01.81 200 fly – but others would appear to have only a matter of time – Gemma Spofforth’s 58.12 in the 100 back or the Chinese women’s 800 free relay, for example.

Below, see the records that are still sitting on the books from 2008 and 2009 (dates in month/day/year format) (continued below):

MEN – LC Swimmer Time Country Date
50 free Cesar Cielo 20.91 Brazil 12/18/2009
100 free Cesar Cielo 46.91 Brazil 7/30/2009
200 free Paul Biedermann 1:42.00 Germany 7/28/2009
400 free Paul Biedermann 3:40.07 Germany 7/26/2009
800 free Zhang Lin 7:32.12 China 7/29/2009
50 back Liam Tancock 24.04 Great Britain 8/2/2009
100 back Aaron Peirsol 51.94 United States 7/8/2009
200 back Aaron Peirsol 1:51.92 United States 7/31/2009
50 fly Rafa Munoz 22.43 Spain 4/5/2009
100 fly Michael Phelps 49.82 United States 8/1/2009
200 fly Michael Phelps 1:51.51 United States 7/29/2009
400 IM Michael Phelps 4:03.84 United States 8/10/2008
400 free relay United States 3:08.24 United States 8/11/2008
800 free relay United States 6:58.55 United States 7/31/2009
400 med. relay United States 3:27.28 United States 8/2/2009
Women – LC        
50 free Britta Steffen 23.73 Germany 8/2/2009
100 free Britta Steffen 52.07 Germany 7/31/2009
200 free Federica Pellegrini 1:52.98 Italy 7/29/2009
50 back Zhao Jing 27.06 China 7/30/2009
100 back Gemma Spofforth 58.12 Great Britan 7/28/2009
200 fly Liu Zige 2:01.81 China 10/21/2009
200 IM Ariana Kukors 2:06.15 United States 7/27/2009
800 free relay China 7:42.08 China 7/30/2009
Men – SC
100 free Amaury Leveaux 44.94 France 12/13/2008
200 free Paul Bieredmann 1:39.37 Germany 11/15/2009
800 free Grant Hackett 7:32.42 Australia 7/20/2008
100 back Nick Thoman 48.94 United States 12/18/2009
200 back Arkady Vyatchanin 1:46.11 Russia 11/15/2009
50 breast Cameron van der Burgh 25.25 South Africa 11/14/2009
100 breast Cameron van der Burgh 55.61 South Africa 11/15/2009
50 fly Steffen Deibler 21.80 Germany 11/14/2009
400 free relay United States 3:03.30 United States 12/19/2009
400 med. relay Russia 3:19.16 Russia 12/20/2009
Women – SC        
100 free Libby Trickett 51.01 Australia 8/10/2009
50 breast Jessica Hardy 28.80 United States 11/14/2009
200 breast Rebecca Soni 2:14.57 United States 12/18/2009
50 fly Therese Alshammar 24.38 Sweden 11/22/2009

And then there’s the cheese, the great Australian cheese, Grant Hackett, who stands alone with the only pre-suit record still on FINA’s books. That’s the 1500 free that he did in short course meters at the 2001 Australian Championships in 14:10.10. Gregorio Paltrinieri from Italy was a 14:16 this week in Doha, and he seems like a good candidate to get this one if his explosion in the last year continues.

If China’s Sun Yang can straighten his career out and makes it to a big short course meters meet, he would have a chance as well, though walls are not Sun’s strength.

Or maybe even one of Hackett’s young, rising countrymates, like Jordan Harrison, will be spurred on by the legend’s recent comeback announcement, and get to his mark.

Records are made to be broken, but it’s always fascinating when they go down. Onward to Kazan.

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Or maybe Grant Hackett will regain his form on his com back and surpass his previous efforts!

The 400 IM world record holder is not correct, that is Mireia not Katinka.


Biederman’s 200 record will last forever


The long course one


I wouldnt be so sure. Ian thorpe had he focused solely on the 200 free and developed more muscle would have been below that time. Remember he did 1:44 flat as a teenager with almost no muscle, Had he raced and practiced like that into his physical prime of 23-24, he would have been below that. Obviously we are going to need a new Ian thorpe and thats the difficult part.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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