At just 17 years of age, Ukrainian swimmer Yana Klochkova dominated the IMs, winning gold in both the 200 and 400 at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
She continued her dominance at the 2001 World Championships in Fukoka, winning her first long course world title in the 400 IM a year later, one of four career World Championships in long course.
While Japan’s Ayane Sato led through the butterfly leg, Klochkova took over the lead on the backstroke leg and never looked back, finishing in first place in a time of 4:36.98.
The USA’s Maggie Bowen finished second behind Klochkova, while Beatrice Coada of Romania grabbed the bronze.
What is interesting about watching Klochkova is that she does not utilize the underwater kicking technique that had just started to become more common at this time. In fact, her turns would probably be considered weak by today’s swimming standards. Her strength lies in her endurance and technique.
But this fact did not stop Klochkova from defending her titles in both IMs at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona and the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
In addition, her winning time in the 400 IM at the 2001 World Championships would have earned her an 8th place finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics.