Fly ‘Guy’ In The Making As Brit Matches 200 PB In Tokyo


Even without winning gold tonight in Tokyo, Britain’s James Guy continues to make strides in the men’s 200m butterfly, an event in which he’s contested plenty of times in the past but has recently been taking to a new level of competition. The 21-year-old has been racing the event as far back as 2010, even placing 4th in the race at the 2013 World Junior Championships. After establishing a new personal best of 1:55.91 at last month’s British Championships, Guy described the grueling event as ‘fun’, perhaps foreshadowing the integration of the 2fly into his racing repertoire on a serious regular basis from now on.

Such was the case on day 1 of the Japan Open, where a just-off-a-Thailand-training-camp Guy matched his tapered personal best to take bronze in the 2 fly. Matching his 1:55.91 came after earning a solid 1:57.68 6th seed from the morning. Winning the top prize tonight was Japan’s Masato Sakai, the Olympic silver medalist behind Michael Phelps, and current world rankings leader.

Of his in-season result tonight, Guy was extremely pleased. “That was a massive surprise for me,” Guy said. “My heat was pretty fast and then tonight I equalled my PB so that was pretty good. That was the same time I did at trials and that was fully rested and tapered so this is a good sign. It’s all about practising processes here. Each event is so stacked and it shows you have to work hard to make the finals.”

Although Guy sits just outside the top 10 times in the world this season, his progression in the 2fly points to an upward trend headed to Tokyo 2020, should he choose to continue pursuing the race. A high-level review of select times from Guy’s history reveals how the 200m freestyle reigning world champion is fine-tuning his splitting strategy, now able to go out in a quick 55-mid and still have enough juice to take things to the minute mark on the way home. Guy still has a long way to go, as Sakai took his world-leading 1:53.71 out in 53.81 and brought it home in 59.90, but Guy’s progression is starting to stack up internationally.

1:55.91 (55.38/1:00.53) – April 2017, British National Championships & today in Tokyo
1:57.05 (55.59/1:01.46) – March 2017, Arena Pro Swim Series Indianapolis
1:58.74 (57.24/1:01.50) – June 2014, Canet-En-Rousillon
1:58.80 (57.24/1:01.56) – August 2013, World Junior Championships
2:02.08 (58.00/1:04.08) – March 2012, British National Championships

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Best chance individual medal in Tokyo

bobo gigi

If you are good in the 200 free and the 100 fly then no reason to not be good in the 200 fly.

Bo swims

Also good in 4 Free to Bobo… 🙂


What if he enjoys hauling a piano like Shield’s? That would be a good reason ?


Shields is all legs and slips water when he’s fatigued, James guy has an amazing deep catch. He will never have the piano as bad as shields.


I think you are not a woman and think of them in lesser terms that they are not able to achieve what men easily can. It looks like you never heard about Sarah Sjostrom’s case: the third of the best ever 200LCM freestyler, world record holder at 200SCM, the holder of exceptional world record at 100 LCM fly and yet nobody at 200 fly.


Yeah, she’s never really tried it though. Susie O’Neil did both well. Kathleen Hershey could pull off a 200 free. Maya DiRado was decent at both, and those weren’t even top three in her primary events.


Maya Dirado’s ranking
100 BU – #190
200 FR – #95
200 BU – #45
It is quite an opposite logic to the one used by Gigi: she IS good at 200 fly first all and not bad at 200free but it doesn’t make her good sprinter. Following Gigi’s logic if you are a good sprinter at fly and don’t die at 200 free then you must be excellent at 200 fly. I think that excellence 100-200 fly is a rare feat and if it happens then a good time at 200 free is a side effect of such extraordinary ability but not a vice versa.


Sorry, I guess I didn’t understand what you meant. Sounded like you were saying women can’t do both 200 fly and free well. Seems like more swimmers of any discipline would be able to be good at 200 free than 200 fly.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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