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, 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.