Breeja Larson Breaks 200 Breaststroke American Record in Prelims

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 9

November 17th, 2012 College, News

Texas A&M junior Breeja Larson was a shoe-in headed into Friday night’s finals to break the American Record in the 100 breaststroke. On Saturday, she didn’t leave much suspense as she busted through and broke the NCAA, American, and U.S. Open Records in the 200 breaststroke in prelims with a 2:04.48. That took down the previous all-time best held by USC Trojan, and World Record holder in long course, Rebecca Soni at 2:04.75 from 2009.

Coming into this meet, Larson had only been a 2:10 in the 200 – not as good as the 59’s she’d been putting up in the 100 in dual meets. That made this record-breaking swim somewhat of a surprise, though given how incredible she is underwater and how little she actually swims on top of the water in a yards course, it probably shouldn’t be. She was easily able to stretch her 100 speed into a 200.

This sets the bar for Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz, who last year missed this record by .01 seconds at NCAA’s and was considered to be the favorite to win at NCAA’s.

Soni 2009: 28.92 31.07 32.14 32.62 2:04.75
Larson 2012: 28.70 31.54 31.83 32.41 2:04.48

Soni, as compared to how she swims in long course, was a hard-starter in college. She was the first to crack one minute on her opening 100 en route to this 200. Compared to Soni’s record-breaking opening split (59.99), Larson did well to stay close to the record with a 1:00.24, but was truly impressive coming home in 1:04.2.

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bobo gigi

Yes! Congrats Breeja Larson! But why in prelims? Is she able to swim faster in finals? It confirms her big improvements. Of course it’s not long course but it shows she has worked her endurance and it’s a good sign for her 100 breast next summer.

Craig H

Who cares if she does it in prelims or finals? She’s going to win the event at this either way. Going all out in prelims gives her two opportunities to go for the record.


You’ve said it all: her underwater is amazing! I saw your video for the 100m record on your link and heard someone say and then I counted myself: she took 4 (FOUR) strokes for the first 25m, and then 7 for the other 25 metres.. very good. Just read on twitter: William Bernhardt ‏@SwimCoachWill I say flip the pool to LCM in Houston and let @BreejaLarson go for some WRs this weekend! I know @swimswamnews agrees! #shesonfire I second that: she is on fire this weekend! As for Soni, her technique still amazes and puzzles me: she is late off the blocks, last to break out, her underwater are not au par with the other girls, she has no strong… Read more »


I read somewhere, if I remember it right, that Soni stroke combines power (for her size), a somewhat increased tempo, and efficiency. The latter being a relative lack of “dead time”, i.e. the lag time between end of stroke and beginning of the next. Also, she is relatively high in the water and closer to the surface for most of the cycle, and so has been compared with a “water skeeter”, although I don’t know how that helps, exactly. For Larson, who is 5 inches taller than Soni and appears even more powerful, it seems like it makes more sense to glide longer and take advantage of the momentum from the increased torque. Breaststroke seems to have the most variability… Read more »


Hardy’s 100m breast world record may be in danger next summer.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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