At the halfway point of the men’s 200 breaststroke it looked liked anyone’s race, that was until Olympic champion Daniel Gyurta of Hungary made his move in the third leg of the event.
Gyurta turned at the 100 meter wall in the seventh position with a time of 1:02.54. His third 50 split of 32.33 was the fastest in the final by 64 one-hundredths of a second and put him within seven one-hundredths of a second of Akihiro Yamaguchi’s world record pace.
Gyurta split a 32.36 in his final 50 meters winning the event in a European and Championships record time of time of 2:07.23. His final 50 meters was 13 one-hundredths of a second slower than Yamaguchi’s world record split.
German Marco Koch finished second in a lifetime best of 2:08.54. Coming into world championships Koch was ranked seventh in the world with a 2:09.40 and was a long shot for a medal considering he did not make a final at either 2011 World Championships or 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Although Koch was a long shot to win the silver the biggest surprise of the competition has to be 19 year old Matti Mattsson of Finland collecting the bronze.
Coming into the competition Mattsson’s lifetime best was a 2:11.81 that he posted at the Olympics last year and he was not even ranked in the top 100 in the world this year having posted a season’s best of 2:14.69.
Mattsson was the fastest to the 100 meter mark in the final in a time of 1:01.91, which is only 74 one-hundredths of a second slower than the Finnish national record of 1:01.17. At the end of the 200 he touched in a new Finnish national record time of 2:08.54.
This year Great Britain decided to take a page out of the American’s playbook and placed their trials much closer to the world championships than they normally do. The experiment has not worked well at all.
Olympic silver medalist Michael Jamieson recorded a 2:07.78 at the British trials, the fastest time in the world coming into Barcelona while fellow countryman Andrew Willis posted a 2:08.35 at the trials, which was ththird ranked time in the world coming into the world championships.
In the final Willis placed fourth in a time of 2:09.13 with Jamieson finishing fifth in a time of 2:09.14
Russian Viatcheslav Sinkevich, who set a new Russian record of 2:08.62 earlier this year finished sixth in a time of 2:09.34.
World record holder Akihiro Yamaguchi of Japan finished seventh in a time of 2:09.57 with his teammate Ryo Tateishi finished eighth with a time of 2:10.28.