Disclaimer: Dolfin Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Dolfin Swim is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.
April 23, 2009 – the date that man first broke 47 seconds in the 100-long-course-meter freestyle.
France’s Alain Bernard was the record-breaker, crushing a 46.94 at French Nationals. Bernard was the reigning Olympic champ at the time, having gone 47.21 to win gold in Beijing less than a year prior. But Bernard left that year without the other major prize: a world record.
Bernard first broke the world record at the European Championships in 2008, going 47.60 in semifinals. The previous record (from Pieter van den Hoogenband) had stood for almost eight years. Bernard re-broke the record in finals, going 47.50.
As tech suit technology continued to improve by leaps and bounds, the record fell time and time again in 2008. Eamon Sullivan of Australia lowered the record to 47.24 while leading off the 4×100 free relay at the Beijing Olympics. Then in the Olympic semifinals, Bernard went 47.20 to take the record back, but Sullivan crushed a 47.05 just one heat later to steal the record back. Though Bernard would win the gold, neither man bettered their semifinal times, and the record remained with Sullivan.
So that 2009 swim was a major breakthrough for Bernard, taking back the world record and smashing a historic barrier. Though Cesar Cielo would break the record again in July (46.91 at Worlds), Bernard’s swim still stands as the #2 performance in history and one of just three swims below 47 seconds.
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About Dolfin’s Tech Suit LightStrike
LightStrikeTM was developed after years of research in biomechanics, active drag analysis, fabric innovation, and compression analysis. This new FINA approved suit is supported by Dr. Genadijus Sokolovas, PhD in Biomechanics and former Performance Director with USA Swimming and Styku® 3D Biomapping Engineering.
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