Disclaimer: BlueSeventy 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 BlueSeventy Swim 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 began to feel like a broken record – only one about a record that stubbornly refused to be broken.
“Its days are numbered.” “Someone will get it soon.” “There are too many swimmers in the 2:07s for that record to last long.”
Yet despite years of constant threats, Akihiro Yamaguchi‘s 2:07.01 world record in the 200 breast held fast from 2012 to early 2017. The onslaughts were regular. Every single year, one or more swimmers would come within tenths of breaking it. In 2013, Daniel Gyurta went 2:07.23. In the summer of 2014, Ross Murdoch was 2:07.30 and Marco Koch 2:07.47. That fall, Dimitriy Balandin went 2:07.67, and then in the summer of ’15, Koch once again dipped into the 2:07s to win Worlds. At U.S. Olympic Trials in 2012, Josh Prenot went 2:07.17, and at the Olympics Balandin was 2:07.46 to win gold and Ippei Watanabe went 2:07.22 in semifinals.
After what seems like forever, Yamaguchi’s record has finally fallen in January of 2017. It was Watanabe, the last name in that long list of challengers, who finally cracked the barrier, going 2:06.67 in Tokyo this week.
Watanabe’s splitting was incredibly even, with his final three splits all dipping under 33 seconds: 28.9/32.3/32.6/32.6. That huge leap forward chopped almost half a second off the world record. It also sets up Watanabe as the heavy favorite in the 200 breast at this summer’s World Championships in Budapest. A win would give the 19-year-old his first-ever Olympic or World Championships medal.
WE MAKE SWIMMERS.
There isn’t a second that goes by when the team at blueseventy aren’t thinking about you. How you eat, breathe, train, play, win, lose, suffer and celebrate. How swimming is every part of what makes you tick. Aptly named because 70% of the earth is covered in water, blueseventy is a world leader in the pool and open water. Since 1993, we design, test, refine and craft products using superior materials and revolutionary details that equate to comfort, freedom from restriction and ultimately a competitive advantage in the water. This is where we thrive. There is no substitute and no way around it. We’re all for the swim.
Visit blueseventy.com/pages/swim to learn more.
blueseventy is a SwimSwam partner.