arena Swim of the Week: Ilya Kharun Enters Rarefied Air With 1:37.93 200 Fly

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Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

It’s only a matter of time before Ilya Kharun becomes the fastest swimmer of all-time in the men’s 200 fly in short course yards. At least that’s the conclusion one might come to after what he’s done throughout his freshman season at Arizona State, with his latest outing putting him within earshot of the record before we’ve even entered the postseason.

Racing against Stanford last Friday, Kharun scorched his way to a time of 1:37.93 in the 200 fly, becoming just the fourth swimmer in history to break the 1:38 barrier and the first to do so in a non-championship setting.

The 18-year-old, who came into the season with a lifetime best of 1:40.89 (altitude adjusted from 1:41.39) but has already been faster seven times this season, now ranks 3rd all-time in the event, trailing only NCAA, American and U.S. Open Record holder Jack Conger and Nicolas Albiero.

Conger, Albiero and the only other man who has broken 1:38, Joseph Schooling, all won NCAA titles in the event during their career.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 200 Butterfly (SCY)

  1. Jack Conger (Texas), 1:37.35 – 2017 NCAA Championships
  2. Nicolas Albiero (Louisville), 1:37.92 – 2022 ACC Championships
  3. Ilya Kharun (Arizona State), 1:37.93 – 2024 Stanford vs ASU
  4. Joseph Schooling (Texas), 1:37.97 – 2016 NCAA Championships
  5. Jack Conger (Texas), 1:38.06 – 2016 NCAA Championships
  6. Trenton Julian (Cal), 1:38.53 – 2021 Pac-12 Championships
  7. Andreas Vazaios (NC State), 1:38.57 – 2019 NCAA Championships
  8. Andreas Vazaios (NC State), 1:38.60 – 2018 NCAA Championships
  9. Andrei Minakov (Stanford), 1:38.63 – 2024 Stanford vs ASU
  10. Nicolas Albiero (Louisville), 1:38.64 – 2021 NCAA Championships

Not to be glossed over was the performance of Stanford’s Andrei Minakov alongside Kharun, as he dropped a massive best time of 1:38.63, which, as you can see above, stands up as the 9th-fastest swim ever and ranks him #7 all-time.

Minakov had the slight lead over Kharun for the majority of the race, through the last turn even, with Kharun only edging in front in the closing yards.

RACE VIDEO

Relative to the way Conger attacked the race in his record swim, Kharun and Minakov were much more conservative. Kharun was 1.99 seconds off record pace at the 150, but managed to claw back within six-tenths after a tantalizing 25.07 closing split.

Split Comparison

Conger, 2017 Kharun, 2024 Minakov, 2024
21.65 22.18 21.96
45.78 (24.13) 47.39 (25.21) 47.25 (25.29)
1:10.87 (25.09) 1:12.86 (25.47) 1:12.39 (25.14)
1:37.35 (26.48) 1:37.93 (25.07) 1:38.63 (26.24)

Coming into last weekend’s dual, the fastest time Kharun had ever recorded was 1:39.10, done at the NC State Invite back in November (he also went 1:39.31 in a dual with Utah two days later, which altitude-adjusted down to 1:38.11).

During the midseason invite, where he was presumably more rested than he was against Stanford, Kharun showed more speed on the front half of the race.

Split Comparison

Kharun, 2023 Kharun, 2024
21.59 22.18
46.60 (25.01) 47.39 (25.21)
1:12.51 (25.91) 1:12.86 (25.47)
1:39.10 (26.59) 1:37.93 (25.07)

Kharun should find some more speed with a full taper on the first 100, and if he can have a similar second 100 to what he did against Stanford, Conger’s record is toast.

As for Minakov, he only had one 200 fly swim on record, a 1:42.57 from this time last year, before he dropped a 1:38 out of nowhere, so he’s a bit of a wildcard as we enter the postseason.

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Swimfan27
2 months ago

That last 50 is filthy

mds
2 months ago

A small correction, only enhancing the flavor of your piece reflecting Ilya’s progressing and consistent excellence.

He has actually gone under his best SCY performance coming into the year, 1:40.89 “alt. adj. from 1:41.39,” EIGHT time in a row, not just the 7 you note. He has swum the event 8 times and been under that 1:40.89 bar ALL EIGHT TIMES. I suspect you may have missed the fall invite prelim swim (1:40.84).

200 SCY Fly ASU Record entering year: 1:39.55(Alex Colson)

KHARUN: PB entering year 1:40.89.

Ilya’s times this year, in order, have been: 1:40.68; 1:40.76; 1:40.07; 1:40.84P; 1:39.10 (New ASU 200 School Record #1); 1:39.31(altitude; adjusts by rule to 1:38.11– 200 ASU record #2); 1:37.93 (ASU 200 record… Read more »

Owlmando
2 months ago

That closing speed 🥶🥶

Sapiens Ursus
2 months ago

I’m kinda surprised by how little fanfare this swim got. We’ve quickly become desensitized to insanely fast swimming in season in the NCAA

I’m fairly certain that blazing final 50 is the fastest in history by a decent margin. The next best I know of was 25.4 by Schooling when he broke open the 1:38 barrier

mds
Reply to  Sapiens Ursus
2 months ago

Minakov may have been the best ‘rabbit,’ in history. Rabbits are best known in track but come around in swimming on occasion. Greaaaat swim by both.

jp input is too short
2 months ago

Just for accuracy’s sake, I thought I remembered Minakov doing a 200 fly sometime last year so I checked and he did log a 1:42.57 this same meet weekend last year, though against Arizona instead of ASU. 22.99/26.58/26.10/26.90.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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