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.
As the sport joins the rest of the world in quarantine for the next few weeks, we’re using our Swim of the Week to look back at this week in history.
The meet was the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, with the 400 IMs coming on the very last day of competition.
For Phelps, it was far from his first brush with the world record books. In fact, Phelps had already held this particular world record for nearly five years and had broken it five previous times. He went 4:11.09 in 2002 to first take over the record, smashing the 4:11.76 set by Tom Dolan in 2000. Phelps would lower the mark twice each in 2003 and 2004, and by 2007, he was down to 4:06.22. At the time, Phelps was three seconds faster than anyone else in history, and he won that world title by 3.5 seconds over teammate Ryan Lochte, then the #3 performer in history.
But his North Baltimore Aquatic Club teammate Katie Hoff made her first-ever foray into the world record books on that day. Just three events after Phelps’ swim, Hoff went 4:32.89 to crush a seven-year-old world record of 4:33.59 set by Yana Klachkova in 2000.
It was Hoff’s second-straight world title in the 400 IM. She would hold the world record until March of 2008, when Stephanie Rice broke it at Australian Olympic Trials. Hoff retook the record at U.S. Trials just a few months later, but Rice took the record for good at the Beijing Olympics.
Phelps still holds that 400 IM world record – he’s held it for nearly 18 years and remains 1.3 seconds ahead of Lochte, the #2 swimmer all-time. Hoff remains #8 all-time among women, and is still the American record-holder.
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