Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer Swims 1:45.05 to Break 200 FR South American Record


During the evening preliminaries of the men’s 200 free on day two of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Brazil’s Fernando Scheffer shaved a half-second off his own South American and Brazilian records at 1:45.05. Scheffer’s efforts allowed him to qualify second into the event semifinals behind Korean teen Hwang Sunwoo (1:44.62).

Scheffer’s original mark was set at the 2018 Brazilian Open, where he broke 1:46 for the first time at 1:45.51. Looking at the split comparison, Scheffer’s opening 50 during the Tokyo Olympics was the edge that allowed him to nip his national record.

Split Comparison

2020 Olympics
2018 Brazilian Open
24.76 25.24
26.49 26.51
26.78 26.84
27.02 26.92
1:45.02 1:45.51

Scheffer now ranks No. 20 on the all-time 200 free performers list, passing USA’s Peter Vanderkaay, Britain’s James Guy, South Africa’s Chad le Clos, Japan’s Kosuke Hagino, and USA’s Conor Dwyer. His swim is also the 12th-fastest 200 free in the last decade (2011-2021).

Scheffer’s swim is now two one-hundredths behind American Townley Haas‘ lifetime best of 1:45.03, which he has not swum since 2017 U.S. Nationals.

Originally reported by James Sutherland.


  • World Record: Paul Biedermann (GER) – 1:42.00 (2009)
  • Olympic Record: Michael Phelps (USA) – 1:42.96 (2008)
  • World Junior Record: Hwang Sun Woo (KOR) – 1:44.96 (2021)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Sun Yang (CHN) – 1:44.65
  • SwimSwam Event Preview – Men’s 200 Freestyle
  1. Hwang Sunwoo (KOR), 1:44.62
  2. Fernando Scheffer (BRA), 1:45.05
  3. Tom Dean (GBR), 1:45.24
  4. David Popovici (ROU), 1:45.32
  5. Duncan Scott (GBR), 1:45.37
  6. Martin Malyutin (ROC), 1:45.50
  7. Stefano Ballo (ITA), 1:45.80
  8. Thomas Neill (AUS), 1:45.81
  9. Danas Rapsys (LTU), 1:45.84
  10. Townley Haas (USA), 1:45.86
  11. Kregor Zirk (EST), 1:46.10
  12. Nandor Nemeth (HUN), 1:46.19
  13. Kieran Smith (USA), 1:46.20
  14. Velimir Stjepanovic (SRB), 1:46.26
  15. Antonio Djakovic (SUI), 1:46.37
  16. Stefano Di Cola (ITA), 1:46.67

South Korea’s Hwang Sunwoo asserted himself as the man to beat in the first round of the men’s 200 freestyle, blasting his way to a new World Junior Record of 1:44.62 in the first circle-seeded heat on Sunday night in Tokyo.

The 18-year-old went out fast, flipping in 50.12 at the 100, with Great Britain’s Tom Dean and USA’s Townley Haas close behind. Hwang opened up a bit of gap with a sub-27 third 50 split (26.89), and then held things at bay coming home. His time was the only sub-1:45 of the prelims, and also lowers the South Korean Record of 1:44.80 previously held by Park Tae Hwan.

Hwang’s previous WJR was 1:44.96, set earlier this year. He moves up from 18th to 11th on the all-time performers list.

Dean (1:45.24) put up a solid time to take second in the heat, ultimately qualifying third overall into the semis.

Brazilian Fernando Scheffer took the second circle-seeded heat by storm, touching first in a new South American Record of 1:45.05 for second overall. That improves Scheffer’s previous South American and Brazilian Records of 1:45.51, set in 2018.

World #1 Duncan Scott took second to Scheffer in that heat in 1:45.37, good for fifth overall, while Australia’s Thomas Neill (1:45.81) held off Danas Rapsys (1:45.84) in the last heat.

16-year-old Romanian David Popovici was right on his personal-best form in Heat 2, clocking 1:45.32, just .06 off his National Record of 1:45.26, to easily qualify fourth overall.

Katsuhiro Matsumoto, the fourth seed coming in, ends up tying with Germany’s Lukas Märtens for 17th in 1:46.69, meaning he’ll miss out on the semis barring a scratch.

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About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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