After the 2009 World Championships, and when FINA and USA Swimming removed the rubber-suits from competition, there was a lot of gloom-and-doom that World Records would never be broken again. In the 18-months since the full ban, however, things have looked a little brighter, and it seems almost a definite that at least one or two will go down between now and London in 2012.
Last week, we took a look at the top 10 World Records that could be broken in Shanghai. But now it’s time to flip the tables, and talk about which World Records are definitely not going down, regardless of how out of their minds the competitors swim. We’ll include videos of the current World Record swims.
(Textile Best efforts referenced from Tom Willdridge at SpeedEndurance.blogspot.com)
1. Women’s 200 IM – World Record: Ariana Kukors 2:06.15 – Textile Best: Ye Shiwen 2:09.37
There’s more than three seconds between Kukors’ World Record from Rome in 2009 and Ye’s best time from last year’s Asian Games. Kukors, who at 22 years old should, and probably is, swimming as well as she’s ever swum, has the 2nd-best time in textile ever, but is still nowhere close to her record. I think the best-case time for this race in Shanghai, in a crazy scenario, would be a 2:08-low. And even that would be two seconds away.
2. Women’s 200 fly – World Record: Liu Zige 2:01.81 – Textile Best: Liu Zige 2:04.40
Liu Zige has both the textile and rubber-suited best times, the latter of which she swam at this year’s Chinese Nationals. Her World Record, coincidentally, was from Chinese Nationals in 2009. That 2:01.81 was so above-and-beyond what anybody has ever done, that nobody else, even Liu herself, even during the rubbersuit era, was better than a 2:03.4. Jessicah Schipper’s winnin time from 2009 World’s is within reach, though distantly, but that 2:01 is going to stand for a long, long time.
3. Men’s 100 free – World Record: Cesar Cielo 46.91 – Textile Best: Pieter van den Hoogenband 47.84
Purely in seconds, Cielo’s mark doesn’t seem that far off. But in reality, consider that outside of 2008 and 2009, only three swimmers have ever been under 48 in this race: van den Hoogenband, Stefan Nystrand in 2007, and Brent Hayden in 2010. That full-second between 48 and 47 is a monumental step. There’s a great young crop of sprinters (James Magnussen, Luca Dotta, Marco di Carli etc.) that in another 3 or 4 years could cause some excitement, but I don’t see anyone on stage right now with the ability to get below about 47.6.
4. Men’s 800 free – World Record: Zhang Lin 7:32.12 – Textile Best: Grant Hackett 7:38.65
China’s Sun Yang is having a great season, and at only 19 is already within striking distance in the 1500. In this 800, however, his 7:44 from Chinese Nationals is four seconds ahead of the rest of the world over the last two years, and still 6 seconds from even a textile best. Even if he were able to pass Hackett, he would be looking at another 6.5 seconds to get to his countrymate Zhang Lin’s record. Yang breaking the World Record in this race would be the equivalent of dropping his personal best time by 1.2 seconds…per 100 meters.
5. Women’s 1500 free – World Record: Kate Ziegler 15:42.54 – Textile Best: Kate Ziegler 15:42.54
This one is a bit deceptive, because it’s the only mark on this list that wasn’t set in a rubber suit. Ziegler’s time from the 2007 TYR Meet of Champions was so fast, that it withstood the rubber suits by two seconds. When that mark went up on the board in Mission Viejo (at a mid-season meet), it smashed Janet Evans’ 9-year old World Record by 10 seconds. Ziegler herself was 11-seconds slower at World’s earlier that year. In the past two years, only one swimmer has been under 16 minutes, and that’s 2010 European Champion Lotte Friis in 15:59. I don’t see anybody in this field, even Ziegler herself, going another 17-seconds faster in Shanghai.