At just 18 years old, Evgeniia Chikunova crushed a new world record in the women’s 200-meter breaststroke at the Russian Swimming Championships on Friday, clocking a 2:17.55 to shave nearly a second and a half off the previous mark set by South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker (2:18.95) at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.
Nearly all of Chikunova’s improvement upon the former record came during the final 50 meters, where she blazed home in 35.08. She ended up dropping nearly three seconds off her previous-best 2:20.41 from Russia’s Solidarity Games last July.
This is your LIVEBARN Race of the Week because Chikunova has been on the brink of a major breakthrough for years now, and it finally came in a big way. At her Olympic debut in Tokyo, she fell just .04 shy of the bronze medal with a 2:20.88. Then last November, she barely missed Rebecca Soni‘s world record in the SCM 200 breast that has stood since 2009 by only .13 seconds with a 2:14.70.
Chikunova’s world record was also the fourth long course standard to fall so far this year. There have only been five long course world records set before May combined in the post-supersuit era.
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