Kregor Zirk Breaks Estonian Record in 800 Free

Arena Baltic Talent Meet – Keila

On Thursday, 20-year old Estonian swimmer Kregor Zirk swam his first meet since his country declared a state of Emergency on March 13 related tot he global coronavirus pandemic.

Zirk is typically a member of the Energy Standard professional training group based out of Turkey, but that group dispersed to their home countries in March as the situation began to look worse around the world.

Zirk, who domestically represents Ujumise Spordiklubi, was the biggest name at the Arena Baltic Talent Meet in Keila held on Thursday. The event focused on distance races, specifically offering the 200 free, 400 free, 800 free, and 400 IM.

Zirk swam, and won the 800 free (7:55.05). The 800 free was a new National Record, breaking his own time of 7:58.78 that he swam in 2015. He hasn’t actually swum the 800 free, in long course or short course, since 2016.

Zirk called his shot on social media before the meet, saying that he was aiming for the record at the meet. After his swim, he said that he was happy with the result in his first meet since January.

Race Video:

The men’s 800 free (and women’s 1500 free) are not commonly raced in short course at major championships, they are expected to receive more focus in coming years as the long course versions become Olympic events starting in Tokyo. Even the European Short Course Championships don’t include these events.

For perspective, the European Record in the 800 free is a 7:19.17 set by Yannick Agnel at the French Championships in 2012.

He also won the 400 free (3:55.52) on Thursday. His best time in the 400 free in short course came in December at the ISL Las Vegas finale, where he swam 3:42.12. That gave him 6th-place points for Energy Standard.

Zirk is primarily a middle-distance freestyler and butterflier. At last summer’s World Championships, he broke Estonian Records in the 200 free (1:48.51), 400 free (3:51.30) and 200 fly (1:58.04) in long course. He also swam the 100 fly (52.92).

His highest finish at Worlds was in the 400 free, where he placed 19th.

In total, Zirk has broken over 40 Estonian records in his career.

Other winners at the meet included 18-year old Kaspar Helde, who won the men’s 200 free in 1:54.95, and 17-year old Christopher Palvadre, who won the men’s 400 IM in 4:42.54.

On the women’s side, 16-year old Laura-Liis Valdmaa won both events on offer, topping the women’s 200 free in 2:08.04 and the women’s 400 IM in 5:02.08.

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9 months ago

Well done, that was a great swim! Great to see some fast swimming right now!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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