Back in the early days of swimming, all-time records would be dropped by a few seconds at a time. Advances in training and technique were coming so rapidly, that seeing an all-time record broken by a second or more in one swim was not unusual.
But in this modern-day, unless rubber suits are involved records are shaved. Swim-by-swim, a tenth here, a few tenths there. But USC’s Katinka Hosszu was having none of that. She blew the record straight past the 3:57’s and all the way down to a 3:56.54, which cleared Julia Smit’s old record of 3:58.23 by almost two seconds. Hosszu had a rough summer last year in long course, but I dare you to count her out for the Olympic title in this 400 IM.
The pair went out identically, and traded jabs in the middle legs, but Hosszu was well behind record pace after 300 yards. The huge difference maker was Hosszu’s freestyle leg, where she had no trouble blowing past the record.
Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz also cleared the old record with a 3:57.89. As Hosszu is Hungarian, Leverenz’s swim gives her the American Record in the event. She now holds the American Record in both the 200 and 400 IM’s. Look at how incredibly fast her breaststroke leg was – that’s two-and-a-half seconds faster than Smit was in her record swim, and Smit is a very good breaststroker.
Here are the comparative splits:
Smit – 54.71, 1:54.73 (1:00.02), 3:02.07 (1:07.34), 3:58.23 (56.16)
Leverenz – 55.69, 1:57.67 (31.00), 3:02.48 (1:04.81), 3:57.89 (55.50)
Hosszu – 54.71, 1:54.55 (59.84), 3:02.96 (1:08.41), 3:56.54 (53.58)