Arizona senior-to-be Kevin Cordes has broken the U.S. Open and National Championship Meet Record in the 200 meter breaststroke, swimming a 2:07.86 on day 2 of the 2014 U.S. National Championships in Irvine, California.
That cleared the old Meet Record of 2:08.01 done by Eric Shanteau in 2009. That Shanteau swim was also the U.S. Open Record – which is to say, the fastest time ever done on American soil.
Cordes has accomplished just about everything there is to accomplish in the yards pool even with a year of NCAA eligibility left, and while he was the United States’ best long course breaststroker last year, he still had growth to compete for medals on the world’s stage. He’s now made that growth, and currently sits 3rd in the world behind Brits Ross Murdoch and Michael Jamieson.
Cordes’ personal previous best was a 2:08.34 at Nationals last year. The target in finals for the American Record is Shanteau’s 2:07.42.
The comparisons between Shanteau’s 2:08.01, Shanteau’s 2:07.42, and Cordes’ 2:07.86:
Shanteau (2009 U.S. Open Record) – 29.35 – 32.33 – 32.73 – 33.60 = 2:08.01
Cordes (2014 U.S. Open Record) – 29.22 – 32.40 – 32.96 – 33.28 = 2:07.86
Shanteau (2009 American Record) – 29.10 – 32.59 – 33.02 – 32.70 = 2:07.42
The splits reveal that the two swim with very similar pacing, though on Shanteau’s American Record, aided by the polyurethane suit and its fatigue-fighting powers, the closing 50 was amazing.
Frankly, what history has indicated is that a 1:34.5 is about what you can do in the first 150 of a two minute and seven second 200 breaststroke. There seems to be a soft ceiling in play there. The difference comes on the tail-end, where the Shanteau’s, Akihiro Yamaguchi’s, and Daniel Gyurta’s of the world are able to hang on for one more sub-33 second split.