Efimova Throws Down Fastest Breaststroke Leg In History: 1:04.03


Russia’s Yuliya Efimova added a 4th medal to her 2017 World Championship collection during the final female event of the meet, the women’s 400 medley relay. Her and the Russian squad annihilated the European record to win silver in 3:53.38, and Efimova had a historic breaststroke split.

The 25-year-old threw down the fastest breaststroke leg in history, coming in at 1:04.03. She surpasses Chen Huijia of China’s 1:04.12 from the 2009 World Championships.

Lilly King, who broke the 100m world record in 1:04.13, split 1:04.48 on the relay as the Americans won gold. She also split 1:04.17 on the mixed medley relay earlier in the meet.

Former world record holder Jessica Hardy‘s fastest split is just 1:05.10. The American team was DQed in prelims in 2009 preventing Rebecca Soni from throwing down something there, as she went 1:04.8 individually. Her best split comes from 2011, 1:04.71. Ruta Meilutyte, also a former world record holder, hasn’t done a relay split in many years given Lithuania hasn’t entered any relays at any big international meets.

Though mixed lead-off legs don’t count as official times, we’re going to count King’s mixed split here in the top relay legs in history. Check out the list below:

  1. Yuliya Efimova, 1:04.03 (2017)
  2. Chen Huijia, 1:04.12 (2009)
  3. Lilly King, 1:04.15 (2017)
  4. Lilly King, 1:04.48 (2017)
  5. Leisel Jones, 1:04.58 (2008)
  6. Sarah Katsoulis, 1:04.65 (2009)
  7. Rebecca Soni, 1:04.71 (2011)
  8. Yuliya Efimova (2013) / Rebecca Soni (2012), 1:04.82
  9. Katie Meili, 1:04.93 (2016)

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crooked donald

Of course, because her flat start is horrendous. In the water, she’s the fastest 100 breastroker, she was just at King’s hip on the start.


Hopefully she focuses on that start the next couple of years so she can get that double in Tokyo.

Vlad Squad loves breaststroke

I am just happy her relay start was better than the Rio Olympic one. 😉

Ed P

That’s an incredible swim. I feel like she’s just getting faster too. Btw who the hell is Chen Huijia and what’s up with all these Chinese one hit wonders?


I can barely find anything online about her and her swimming career, can’t even find her name in Chinese characters to be able to search that and see what comes up. Mysterious. You are right, they do have a lot of one hit wonders from china that occasionally produce a solid time at one big international competition, then fade into oblivion, never showing up in swim results ever again.


A lot of them showed up at the 2009 world champs with the super suits. I have a feeling that had something to do with that.


“Her and her Russian squad” should be “She and her Russian squad”, no?



About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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