If you thought the long course World Records were difficult to break, the short course World Records are even tougher. All of the extra walls, where the polyurethane suits gave an extra advantage, made for some absurdly fast times.
Luckily for American 16-year old Missy Franklin, she is absurdly fast. At the 4th stop of the 2011 FINA/Arena World Cup Series, Franklin broke the 200m backstroke World Record by touching in 2:00.03. That bettered the old mark held by Shiho Sakai of Japan in 2009 at 2:00.18.
Berlin is a hotbed for short course swimming World Records. Sakai’s mark was set at this same stop of the World Cup in 2009, and is now host to 10 short course World Records. The crowd in Berlin even broke out in song after the mark went down.
Were Franklin not dead-set on maintaining her amateur status, that World Record would earn a $10,000 bonus check, in addition to the $1,500 event-win reward.
Here’s the comparative splits:
Sakai 2009 – 27.91 – 58.66 (30.75) – 1:29.49 (30.83) – 2:00.1 (30.69)
Franklin 2011 – 28.64 – 58.86 (30.22) – 1:29.61 (30.75) – 2:00.0 (30.69)
You can see from the comparison that Sakai went out much faster on the opening 50, but Franklin’s speed didn’t fall off nearly as much on the next lap.
This is Franklin’s first ever World Record, though don’t be surprised if she sets more in the future. This also clears her American Record, which she set at short course Worlds last year in 2:02.01.