LIVEBARN Race of the Week: 18-Year-Old Evgeniia Chikunova Crushes 200 Breast WR

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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Nada de Nada
4 months ago

What are her splits. Pls.

Tracy Kosinski
4 months ago

A beautiful swim, stroke and reaction by Chikunova at the end of her race. I do hope she can defend her title next year in Paris.

4 months ago

drug cheat

Beginner Swimmer at 25
4 months ago

She has a beautiful stroke. Her hands don’t even break the surface. Gonna copy it 😈

Last edited 4 months ago by Beginner Swimmer at 25
Golden Summer
5 months ago

She’s swimming in perpetual motion, just like Leisel Jones in her peak. Beautiful.

5 months ago


5 months ago

Chikunova had an absolutely nasty 2:21.0 at 14 (almost 15) which represents a drop of about 2.56% from then till now. A similar progression for McIntosh, who also had her Olympic at the age of 14/almost 15, would mean going 3:56.37 at 2025 Worlds, and she’s surpassed that in less than half the time, so if McIntosh’s times are believable then I don’t see why Chikunova’s wouldn’t be

Mr Piano
Reply to  jeff
4 months ago

That does make me feel a little bit better. She didn’t improve much from ages 15-17, but had a big drop at 18. But still, McInTosh had a more gradual and conventional improvement curve.

Reply to  Mr Piano
4 months ago

I feel like chalking it up to circumstance makes sense- obviously there wasn’t a whole lot of racing in 2020, in 2021 people were still coming back from covid restrictions so maybe she wasn’t at her best (but still PBed at 2:20.57, and then last year Russia was (rightfully) kept out of international competition but she was still able to swim a PB of 2:20.41.

That’s a lot of turbulence for a teenage (15-17 year old) girl but maybe she’s now getting back into the hang of things. Like if McIntosh had been unable to compete last year but trained all the same, we would’ve seen her jump straight from 4:02 to 3:56 in the free and 4:50 (from 2020… Read more »

Last edited 4 months ago by jeff

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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