Kevin Cordes set a new American Record in the 50m breast in the semifinals of the 2015 FINA World Aquatics Championships. His time of 26.76 broke the previous record of 26.86, set by Mark Gangloff at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships in Rome.
In an interesting twist, Gangloff set that American Record while swimming it the same final where Cameron van der Burgh set the world record that Adam Peaty officially (pending verification) broke today swimming with Cordes swimming right next to him.
Coming into this meet, Cordes previously had the fifth-fastest time among US men with a 27.33, which he swam at the 2014 Summer Nationals. He had lowered his previous best already in the preliminaries, where he swam a 26.93, which gave him the second-fastest time ever for US men, and made him and Gangloff the only US swimmers to break 27 seconds in this event.
Cordes, who destroyed the record books in short course yards during his four years at the University of Arizona, recently moved to Singapore to train with former Bolles School coach Sergio Lopez, who is now the head coach of Singapore Swimming. While at Bolles, Lopez helped trained rising stars like sprint freestylers Caeleb Dressel and Santo Condorelli, butterflier Joseph Schooling, and backstroker Ryan Murphy. However, Lopez himself was actually a bronze medalist in the 200 breaststroke at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, and the early indications are that the move to Singapore is paying dividends for Cordes.
Although Cordes did not qualify for the USA in the 100 breast for this meet, due in part to a disqualification at last summer’s Pan Pacific Championships, his strong 50 breast, plus lackluster performances by teammates Nic Fink and Cody Miller, who both failed to make finals in the 100 breast, increases the likelihood that the USA coaches will buck tradition and put Cordes on the 4×100 medley relay on the final day of the meet. Last summer Cordes split a 58.64, less than a tenth of a second off what Eric Shanteau swam on the 2009 world record-setting medley relay in Rome.
Notably, this is only the third men’s American Record to be broken since the end of the supersuited era in 2009. Ryan Lochte set a new world record in the 200 IM, and Michael McBroom set the AR in the 800 free at the 2013 World Championships. Both of those men will be swimming those respective events this week.