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.
While pandemic lockdowns are still keeping competitive swim meets mostly shut down, a few key swims have started to trickle out. One key one from last week: Kregor Zirk‘s Estonian record of 7:55.05 in the 800 free.
Zirk swam at the Arena Baltic Talent Meet in Estonia. And the meet’s specific focus on distance races is especially significant. With most training programs either shut down or limited in pool time for the past several months of the pandemic, many have speculated that results may be relatively unimpressive for awhile, as athletes get back into racing shape after lowering their training time and volume.
But Zirk’s swim was a personal best in a long-distance race – one that many would expect to be most negatively affected by a lighter training load. Zirk went 7:55.05, breaking his own 2015 national record of 7:58.78.
Zirk has had most of his success internationally in the 200 and 400 frees, and the 800 is still probably outside of his primary range. But for the shortened 2019-2020 season, Zirk’s time would rank #10 worldwide in the 800 free. Only four men had broken 7:50 this season before meets began to shut down due to coronavirus.
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