Japanese superstar Ryosuke Irie broke the Australian All-Comers National Record on Thursday at the Western Australia Open State Championships with a 1:54.02. This means that this was the fastest swim ever done in Australia. It also ties as the 9th-best performance of all-time (and the 2nd-best swim ever in textile behind Lochte’s win from this summmer’s World Championships).
Irie is a notoriously-fast in-season swimmer (he swam six 1:54’s last season, whereas nobody else in the world swam more than 1), but this swim is unusually fast. Last season, he wasn’t this fast until April, so he’s ahead of schedule. If he can do just a little build through July, and taper back off for the Olympics, he seems to be the only swimmer who could legitimately challenge America’s World Champion Ryan Lochte in the event, though that still seems a long-shot.
Irie doesn’t have an Olympic medal yet, but has taken silver at the last two World Championships in this event. At only 21-years old (it’s easy to forget how young he is), he should be really hitting his stride when London rolls around.