Le Clos Cracks World Record/Shields Smashes American Record in 200 SCM Butterfly in Eindhoven

Chad Le Clos just can’t stop winning.

Ever Since Le Clos stunned the world by taking down Michael Phelps in his signature 200 butterfly race at last summer’s Olympics in London, the youngster from South Africa has been on an absolute tear.  At last week’s FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, Le Clos captured both the 100 and 200 butterfly races in dominant fashion, winning in times of 51.06 and 1:54.32 respectively.  Throw in the fact that he was also able to split a 47.97 on South Africa’s 4×100 freestyle relay, and you’ve got yourself one of the most talented 21-year olds on the planet.

Le Clos kept his winning streak going on the first day of competition at the FINA World Cup stop at Eindhoven, where he crushed his competition in the 200 meter butterfly en route to a new world record of 1:49.04.  The time clips the previous standard of 1:49.11 that was held by Brazil’s Kaio Almeida from the 2009 FINA World Cup stop in Stockholm, Sweden.

Le Clos is now just the fourth man ever to break 1:50 in the race, and his swim takes about a half-second off of Japan’s Takeshi Matsuda’s 1:49.50, which had been the previous textile best.

In the same race, Tom Shields also joined the record-breaking parade. After cruising to a 1:53.09 in prelims, Tom Shields swam to a lifetime best, and new American record of 1:51.38 in the final, which was good for 3rd place behind Le Clos and Russia’s Nikolay Skvortsov (1:50.99).  Shields’ time cut a half-second off Davis Tarwater’s 1:51.90 that had stood since the 2011 Duel in the Pool in Atlanta, Georgia, where Tarwater had broken Michael Phelp’s previous standard of 1:52.26 from 2009.

Comparative Splits:

Le Clos ’13: 24.88, 28.57, 27.86, 27.73 = 1:49.04

Almeida ’09: 24.80, 28.63, 26.81, 28.87 = 1:49.11


Shields ’13: 25.03, 28.68, 28.78, 28.89 = 1:51.38

Tarwater ’11: 25.47, 28.01, 28.66, 29.76 = 1:51.90


Shields now owns the record in short course meters, and is also tied for the American record in short course yards, when he tied Michael Phelps’ 1:39.65 at the NCAA Championships last March.

Last week, Tom Shields blitzed the 100 meter butterfly at the US Opens in Irvine, CA with a very fast time of 51.65, that was good for 8th in the world, and also would have placed him in the final last week at the World Championships.  Both Shields and Le Clos are entered in the 100 buttefly tomorrow. Shields boasts a lifetime best of 49.54 in the event, while Chad Le Clos has a 48.82 to his name.

The World record is held by Evgeny Korotyshkin of Russia, who swam a 48.48 back in 2009. The American record is a 49.07 from all the way back in 2004 when Ian Crocker broke the world record at the NCAA Championships, which were contested in SCM that year.

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9 years ago

whoa there

as of yet all he has are golds in the two butterfly events, which doesn’t make him the best in the world

should he medal in the IMs and put up world class time in the 100, 200 or 400 freestyle, then we’ll talk

Reply to  mcgillrocks
9 years ago

According to swimrankings he’s been 1.54.06 in the short course 200m IM, a 4.04 as a 17 year old in the short course 400m IM (albeit in the suits), 1.43.62 in the short course 200m free and swam a 47.9 long course 100m free relay split at Barcelona so the potential is there…

9 years ago

le Clos has said he isnt very fit at all. He is something special. That last 10m in the 100m at WC was unbelievable. Give him 2 more years training…

9 years ago

I’m sorry, no disrespect to Le Clos, but this swim shows how weak this record was and still is. The fact that he is in 1:54 shape, opposed to his best of 1:52, and still broke the record is proof.

observing eye
9 years ago

I think that some college swimming fans, should, rather than telling how NCAA swimmers, based on their SCY times, would be tearing things apart in LCM ( Cordes, Shields…) wonder what kind of times would these international swimmers (Magnussen, Agnel, vd Burgh, Sprenger, Sun…) put if they were swimming SCY.
Do you imagine what the times that le Clos would do in yards based on what he just did in Eindhoven ?
He just beat the best “flyer” in the NCAA now (who did a PB and broke the US record in the process) in a short course meet by more than 2s.

Reply to  observing eye
9 years ago

i think that goes both ways. michael phelps is undeniably the greatest swimmer ever and while he was a great short course swimmer i just dont think his short course swimming was on the same level as his long course.

you could say the same thing about nathan adrian in 2012 beating out magnussen at the olympics, the best freestyler in the NCAA beats the world champion.

and its easier to see college swimmers swimming SCY’s results convert to LCM because the best (Cordes, Shields, etc) actually begin to compete in LCM on an international stage. why would these world class athletes like magnussen, agnel, yang, CVDB, sprenger, etc reverse and swim short course? i personally think it takes… Read more »

9 years ago

To me, that 48.48 by Korotyshkin is one of the most incredible suit records still standing today. Along with that 21.80 50 fly by Steffen Deibler.

Reply to  Pvk
9 years ago

Le Clos could hit that tomorrow methinks

Reply to  Pvk
9 years ago

ps. For me the most incredible suit record is CVDB’s 55.61 in the 100 breaststroke. 🙂

9 years ago

Saw it on the live webcast – AWESOME. Also, Almeida’s 3rd 50m split from the old World Record is crazy too.

About Varun Shivakumar

Varun Shivakumar hails from Hoffman Estates, IL and swam competitively for 16 years. He swam both backstroke events at Northwestern University, and ranks fifth in the school’s All-time performances list in the 200 yard backstroke. Representing NASA Wildcat Aquatics, he also competed in the 2012 Olympic Trials in Omaha, NE …

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