Australian Mitchell Larkin has broke the Australian National Record in the men’s 200 short course meter backstroke on day 2 of the 2014 Beijing World Cup stop, swimming to a 1:48.69. That broke the old record of 1:49.62 set by Ashley Delaney in 2009 in Hobart, Australia.
Larkin swam lifetime bests in all three backstroke events in Beijing, and now ranks 4th, 3rd, and 1st, all-time in Australia in the 50, 100, and 200 meter backstrokes.
The 200 where he broke the record, though, saw his biggest personal improvement: he had previously sat 2nd on Australia’s all-time list in 1:49.89.
This is an event, especially in short course, where Australia has been pretty weak in this millenium despite their overall very good swimming history. Coming into Beijing, the Australians had only two swimmers all-time better than 1:51; the Americans, by comparison, have had 8 clear that barrier.
A split comparison between the two:
- Ashley Delaney ’09: 25.38/27.38/28.15/28.71
- Mitch Larkin ’14: 25.18/27.27/28.18/28.06
Larkin, whose primary event is the 200, made up a big part of the difference in the last 50 of his race. While both cross-over fairly well, Delaney is generally a better sprinter than Larkin, and Larkin is generally a better finisher than Delaney in the 200’s.
Not only is Larkin the National Record holder, he’s also the youngest swimmer on Australia’s top 10 list in any of the three short course backstroke distances (Josh Beaver was born about 6 months earlier). That means that this record could stand for a long time, and if he continues to race the World Cup, records in the 50 and 100 might not be far behind.