German Lukas Martens Swims A 3:41.60 400 Free, #8 Performer Of All Time

2022 Stockholm Open

  • April 9 to 12, 2022
  • Erikdalsbadet, Sweden
  • Long Course Meters (50 m)
  • Live Results

On the opening night of the 2022 Stockholm Open, German swimmer Lukas Martens swam a time of 3:41.60 in the 400 free. This time is the fastest a man has gone in the event since 2017, when Sun Yang dropped a 3:41.38 at FINA World Championships, and also marks the first time someone has been under 3:42 in the event since Yang in 2017.

With this time, Martens shoots up to the top of the world rankings this year, and also becomes the #8 performer of all time in the men’s 400 free.

All Time Top 8, Men’s 400 Meter Freestyle:

  1. Paul Biedermann, Germany – 3:40.07 (2009)
  2. Ian Thorpe, Australia – 3:40.08 (2002)
  3. Sun Yang, China – 3:40.14 (2012)
  4. Ous Mellouli, Tunisia – 3:41.11 (2009)
  5. Zhang Lin, China – 3:41.35 (2009)
  6. Park Tae Hwan, South Korea – 3:41.53 (2010)
  7. Mack Horton, Australia – 3:41.53 (2016)
  8. Lukas Martens, Germany – 3:41.60 (2022)

2021-2022 LCM Men 400 Free

View Top 27»

Martens’ best time before today was a 3:44.86, from when he swam at German Olympic trials last year. He later finished twelfth at the Olympics with a time of 3:46.30. To gauge how he paced this swim, we compared his splits with his previous best time, as well as with the splits from his countrymate Paul Biedermann when he swam his 3:40.07 world record back in 2009.

Comparative Splits, Lukas Martens 2021 vs. Lukas Martens 2022 vs. Paul Biedermann 2009

Lukas Martens, 2021 Olympic Trials Lukas Martens, 2022 Stockholm Open Paul Biedermann, 2009 World Championships
100m 55.16 53.92 54.42
200m 57.80 56.60 56.60
300m 56.80 55.71 56.15
400m 55.10 55.37 52.90
Total 3:44.86 3:41.60 3:40.07

Martens was actually nearly a second faster than world record pace on his first 300, going a 2:46.23 compared to Biedermann’s 2:47.17. However, Biedermann was over two seconds faster in his elusive final 100, which included closing in a scorching 25.77 last 50.

In addition to the 400, Martens also holds the top time in the world in the men’s 1500 free, when he dropped a time of 14:40.28 in the 1500 free two weeks ago.

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2 years ago

It wasn’t Paul Biedermann’s fault that the super suits appeared to help him even more than others… but that 3:40.08 should have lived on, it’s the record that bothers me the most of any set in that era. Thorpe was and still is in his own class in men’s 400 free.

2 years ago

No disrespect to Maertens as it was a stellar time. But it’s one thing to do it at a minor meet where you can leave it all for the final and another to do it at the Olympics or WC’s where you usually have to go 3.43 or 3.44 in the morning to be sure of making the final and then have to back up in the evening.

2 years ago

Sounds like disrespect

Reply to  Swimmerfromjapananduk
2 years ago

In the 400FS at the Olympics his countryman Henning Muhlleitner was the fastest qualifier. In the final he swam slower and finished out of the medals. Get my point?

2 years ago

Barely related, but just a quick reminder that both Thorpe and Sun were just a lazy finish away from holding the WR today.

#5 all time textile, always exciting to see young swimmers break out

2 years ago

He’s #3 if you take out the dopers and the supersuits.

NornIron Swim
Reply to  DLSwim
2 years ago


2 years ago

Impressive! It feels like the 400fr is finally about to hot up again with youngters like Maertens, Hafnaoui, De Tullio and, who knows, maybe Galossi before too long. German swimming more generally seems to be showing signs of life too, which is a very welcome development!

Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

Not really German swimming in general, only Bernd Berkhahn’s group (Köhler, Gose, Wellbrock, Märtens) and the two US-based athletes (Miroslaw and Elendt). Distance freestyle is in a great position, but the rest is looking real bad. German coaches don’t seem to have a clue how to develop sprinters.

Reply to  AnEn
2 years ago

Also to add to this I was surprised that Biedermann never broke 48 during his career if he was able to split 46 with a super suit he definitely could have gone under 48 individually. Unless he didn’t have many opportunities to swim it. He definitely could have had he swum it in 09’. Woulda, coulda, shoulda. But still.

Reply to  AnEn
2 years ago

Don’t forget about US-based sprinter Max Walther

Reply to  AnEn
2 years ago

They still only train volume. It’s sad. And what’s worse is that they won’t listen to even the suggestion of a new approach… even the new generation of coaches.

Reply to  FST
2 years ago

Yes, really sad. If you are a distance athlete you should try to join Bernd Berkhahn’s group and if you aren’t, you should go to college in the US. The sad thing is that countries like France or the Netherlands aren’t swimming powerhouses but still develop great sprinters all the time.

Lil Tim
2 years ago

Dang dat 52 last 100 by Paul be crazy

Tik Tok
Reply to  Lil Tim
2 years ago

Arena rubber suit thanks you

Reply to  Tik Tok
2 years ago

Or maybe his last 100 is just too good? Regardless of the super suit

2 years ago

Too bad that he won’t swim the 1500 free this weekend. He went 3:46 & 14:40 two weeks ago. Maybe he can get a nice time in the 200 free tomorrow. Will be interesting to see his schedule at worlds. He can’t swim the 200 free, 400 free, 800 free, 1500 free and 200 back. I think he will drop the 200 back and 800 free (which would allow Sven Schwarz, who went 7:46 today, to compete alongside already qualified Wellbrock).

Reply to  AnEn
2 years ago

But then again, the 800 Free might just be his sweet spot, considering those 400 and 1500 times..

Reply to  Swammer
2 years ago

So far he hasn’t done anything impressive in the 800 free, his PB is 7:57 from 2020. Would feel sorry for Schwarz if 7:46 wouldn’t be enough to qualify for worlds.

Last edited 2 years ago by AnEn
Reply to  AnEn
2 years ago

Now he has done something impressive (:

2 years ago

Please take down your fellow countryman’s ridiculous World Record. In a way it will redeem Thorpe, as finally someone would have *actually* beaten his World Record (not by literally one one-hudredth with a supersuit).

Reply to  SwimElite99
2 years ago

So… I hated the super suits. I witnessed the assault on the record books across all events. They certainly helped different body types better than some. All too often these days the question is asked, we’re they suited? This question always makes me cringe cause it’s a reminder that super suits faded away but returned in a different form, less buoyant for sure, but still performance enhancing. When Beiderman earned his records the field was generally all in the same performance enhancing suit situation. Obviously there’s an argument over which suit manufacturers provided the most improvements. Beidermans records are legit. People argued against goggles. I prefer the time when the brief was the suit of choice due to negating all… Read more »

Reply to  Pisspooler
2 years ago

Either way, I really hate how people talk about super suit era records as if the athletes themselves had done something wrong and terrible. They were all following the rules at the time, they don’t deserve any hate for that.

Reply to  Pisspooler
2 years ago

There were many swimmers before and after Biedermann in 2009 that were better in the 200 and 400 free.

If he had gone on to dominate the events once the suits were gone people would view him through a different lens. He didn’t.

Reply to  Riccardo
2 years ago

he didn’t dominate but still made like every 200 free final for the next decade you gotta give him credit for that. lost to phelps and lochte by a couple milliseconds

College Swimmer
Reply to  SwimElite99
2 years ago

Lest we forget Thorpe was *also* wearing a suit that is now illegal. Which is why I personally won’t take sides on the “purity” of the record. The 400 FR record, the 400 IM record, and others, were done by legal means at the time. The record is the record. Phelps did his 4:03 IM record in a since-banned suit but you don’t hear many people saying “oh man I hope someone takes out that 400 IM super suited record.” Is it because Beidermann was more of a “one hit wonder” with his full body suit? (As in he didn’t get as near his times without it).

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  College Swimmer
2 years ago

Biedermann’s Arena X Glide is levels above the Speedo LZR, which in turn is levels above suits like the FS2/Thorpe’s Adidas.

Your “one hit wonder” point is probably the crux of it though. Best comparison might be someone like Pellegrini, who gets nowhere the same level of flak for her 1:52.9 WR although she hasn’t even been 1:53 textile. But she is still the queen of the 200 free, so it’s fine.

Grant Drukker

LZR legskin is probably very comparable to today’s brief. I’d assume a women’s tech suit is faster than the LZR legskin.

Reply to  College Swimmer
2 years ago

Thorpe went 3:41 at age 16 in a Speedo brief. After that swim in 1999, he signed the contract with Adidas and started wearing that suit.

He only got a second faster after that, so I don’t think the suit did much for him.

That Adidas suit would probably still be legal if suits like the Jaked hadn’t provided such a ridiculous advantage 10 years later.

Last edited 2 years ago by Bignowhere

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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