Roadmaps 2.0 – Mapping International Swim Stars: Men’s 200 Free

In our new series, Roadmaps – Mapping the Journey of US Swimming Stars, we will explore how modern-day Olympians climbed their way to the top, starting from as early as 8 years old all the way to their elite level today. In Roadmaps 2.0, we are expanding to international swim stars.

Every swimmer progresses throughout the sport at their own pace. Some swimmers are early bloomers while others train for years until having their breakout. But what about in other countries? Are their age group swimmers just as fast as ours? Or even faster? In this installment of Roadmaps, we will take a look at the top 8 fastest men’s 200 freestylers worldwide from this Olympic cycle.

2016-2021 Olympic Cycle: International Men’s 200 FR LCM

Rank Swimmer Country Time Meet
1 Danas Rapsys LTU 1:44.38 2019 FINA World Cup – Singapore
2 Sun Yang CHN 1:44.39 2017 World Championships
3 Clyde Lewis AUS 1:44.90 2019 World Championships
4 Duncan Scott GBR 1:44.91 2019 World Championships
5 Townley Haas USA 1:45.03 2017 Summer US Nationals
6 James Guy GBR 1:45.18 2017 World Championships
7 Katsuhiro Matsumoto JPN 1:45.22 2019 World Championships
8 Aleksandr Krasnykh RUS 1:45.23 2017 World Championships

*Sun Yang is currently serving an 8-year doping suspension, however, is included in the data.

The top 2 names on this list are Lithuanian Danas Rapsys (1:44.38) and Chinese Sun Yang (1:44.39). Slipping in for the remaining sub-1:45 swimmers are Aussie Clyde Lewis (1:44.90) and Brit Duncan Scott (1:44.91).

Coming in as the fastest American this cycle is Townley Haas (1:45.03), who is just ahead of versatile Brit James Guy (1:45.18). Japanese Katsuhiro Matsumoto (1:45.22) and Russian Aleksandr Krasnykh (1:45.23) file in for the remaining top 8. Haas is the only American in the top 8 of an event that the USA has historically been very deep in. While depth is rising for the Americans, globally speaking there’s not a ton of top-end times yet.

Age Group Time Drops

When entering his early teens, Townley Haas saw an 11.59-second drop between his age 13 (2:16.94) and age 14 (2:05.35) long course 200 free bests. The next year, Haas sliced 10.25s off his 2:05.35 best to end age 15 at 1:55.10. Haas proceeded to hit 1:50.34 when he was 16, another 5-second drop. Duncan Scott also dropped 6.95 seconds to hit 1:49.88 when he was 16. Aleksandr Krasnykh had the largest time drop between 15 and 16 years old, dropping 7.44 seconds to reach 1:55.69.

Men’s 200 FR LCM: Age Group Progression

Name 13-14 15-16 17-18 19-22
Sun Yang 1:48.73r 1:46.25 1:44.47
Clyde Lewis 2:02.77 1:53.75 1:48.43 1:44.90
Duncan Scott 1:58.65 1:49.88 1:47.28 1:44.91
Townley Haas 2:05.35 1:50.34 1:47.55 1:45.03
Danas Rapsys 1:52.70 1:50.41 1:45.12
James Guy 2:01.35 1:50.20 1:46.84 1:45.14
1:48.15r 1:45.22
Aleksandr Krasnykh 1:55.69 1:50.71 1:45.69

Entering Senior Competition

The 2021 Olympic “B” cut is a 1:50.23, but most of these swimmers were under that mark by 17 years old. Sun Yang and Duncan Scott were the only two to break 1:50 at 16 years old while Aleksandr Krasnykh didn’t crack the barrier until he was 19. While Krasnykh just broke 1:50 at 19, Townley Haas and James Guy were under 1:45.49. The rest of the group swam under the mark by the time they were 22 years old.

When Yang was 15, he was part of China’s 200 free relay at the 2008 Olympics, which did not advance to finals. During the relay, Yang split a 1:48.73, which would have ranked 5th all-time in the US 15-16 age group. Duncan Scott‘s best at 16 (1:49.88) would have also tied him for 10th all-time. At 18, Yang reached 1:46.25, which is 2nd to Michael Phelps on the all-time US 17-18 rankings. Along with Yang, Guy (1:46.84) would have ranked 4th, Scott (1:47.28) 5th, Katsuhiro Matsumoto (1:48.15r) 14th, and Clyde Lewis (1:48.43) 16th. Currently, Haas ranks 7th all-time at 1:47.55.

Men’s 200 FR LCM: Milestone Ages

Name 1:49.99 1:45.49
Townley Haas 17 19
James Guy 17 19
Sun Yang 16 20
Duncan Scott 16 20
Clyde Lewis 17 21
Danas Rapsys 17 22
Katsuhiro Matsumoto 17 22
Aleksandr Krasnykh 19 22

Olympic Potential

Sun Yang primarily stayed with the 400-1500 individually before 2012, with the exception of his 2010 Asian Games performance. After his 200 free silver medal from London, he then added another silver at the 2015 World Championships to James Guy. Since then, Yang added an Olympic title and two World titles in the 200 free to his collection.

Guy’s title in 2015 also marked his first international title at his debut meet. Guy was also placed as the anchor of Great Britain’s 800 free relay, where he made up a 1.5-second deficit to clinch gold. Because of Guy’s diverse repertoire, he has not had many opportunities to focus on the 200 free individually. However, Guy remains a very valuable relay asset for Great Britain.

Joining Guy at that same Worlds meet was a young Duncan Scott, who earned a gold medal from his prelims efforts on the 800 free relay. At the 2016 Olympics, Scott earned a silver medal on the 800 free relay, along with placing 5th in the 100 free final. Since then, Scott’s incredible endurance has made him a lethal sprinter to hold off with his incredible back-half speed.

Townley Haas and Danas Rapsys both made their senior international debuts at the 2016 Olympics. Haas was a member of the US winning-800 free relay after his successful NCAA debut season. After that, Haas was the 2017 World runner-up in the 200 free behind Yang and the 2018 Pan Pacs champion. Rapsys started off as a backstroker for Lithuania, representing the nation in the 100/200 back at Rio. After the 2017 Universiade, Rapsys picked up 200 free silver at the 2018 European Championships. He then topped off his current medal collection with a short course World title in 2018.

Aleksandr Krasnykh also was medal-less at the 2016 Olympics, placing 8th in the 200 free final. A few months later at the 2016 SC World Championships, Krasnykh picked up bronze in the 200 free. He bettered that with his first LC Worlds medals, taking bronze in the 200 free and silver in the 800 free relay for Russia.

Katsuhiro Matsumoto debuted at the 2017 World Championships, however, placed 27th in the 200 free and 5th in the 800 free relay. After picking up gold at the 2017 Universiade with the 800 free relay, Matsumoto earned his first individual medal by taking 200 free bronze at the 2018 Pan Pacs. At the 2018 Asian Games that same month, Matsumoto took silver in the 200 free and was a member of the winning 800 free relay for Japan. Matsumoto’s first Worlds medal came from the 2019 Worlds final, where he took silver behind Yang.

After having a successful junior career, Clyde Lewis broke out at the 2018 Pan Pacs, contributing to Australia’s runner-up 800 free relay. At the 2019 World Championships, Lewis startled the world with his 1:44.90 during the semi-finals, which now ranks 11th all-time. Despite missing out on a medal in the final, Lewis led off the winning 800 free relay.

Men’s 200 FR LCM Lifetime Bests

Name Time Age
Danas Rapsys 1:44.38 24
Sun Yang 1:44.39 25
Clyde Lewis 1:44.90 21
Duncan Scott 1:44.91 22
Townley Haas 1:45.03 20
James Guy 1:45.14 19
Katsuhiro Matsumoto 1:45.22 22
Aleksandr Krasnykh 1:45.69 22

More Stat Facts:

  • Duncan Scott was the only swimmer of the group to break 2:00 in the 200 free LCM at 14 years old.
  • In the 200 free SCM, American Townley Haas swam a 1:49.16 at 16 years old. At the same age, James Guy (1:47.61) and Scott (1:48.02) were also under the 1:50 mark.
  • By 19 years old, the entire group was under 1:48 in the 200 free LCM.
  • Danas Rapsys and Scott are the 6th and 8th fastest performers in the 200 free SCM. Both swimmers were 22 when they broke sub-1:41, becoming two of 8 swimmers in history to break the barrier.

Single Age Progression: International Men’s 200 FR LCM (Ages 11-28)

Name Country 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Danas Rapsys LTU 1:52.70 1:49.50 1:50.41 1:47.39 1:48.10 1:47.10 1:45.12 1:46.28 1:44.38
Sun Yang CHN 1:48.73r 1:51.30 1:46.25 1:45.14r 1:44.93 1:44.47 1:45.66 1:45.20 1:44.65
Clyde Lewis AUS 2:14.82 2:17.37 2:07.47 2:02.77 1:55.76 1:53.75 1:48.88 1:48.43 1:47.73 1:46.54 1:44.90
Duncan Scott GBR 1:58.65 1:56.83 1:49.88 1:48.25 1:47.28 1:45.80 1:45.16 1:45.34 1:44.91
Townley Haas USA 2:30.21 2:21.38 2:16.94 2:05.35 1:55.10 1:50.34 1:48.29 1:47.55 1:45.58 1:45.03 1:45.56 1:45.92 1:47.48
James Guy GBR 2:01.35 1:53.94 1:50.20 1:47.19 1:46.84 1:45.14 1:45.19 1:45.18 1:46.20 1:45.95 1:46.79
Katsuhiro Matsumoto JPN 1:49.90 1:48.15r 1:47.87 1:47.92 1:45.92 1:45.22
Aleksandr Krasnykh RUS 2:03.13 1:55.69 1:53.03 1:50.71 1:47.70 1:47.39 1:46.45 1:45.69 1:46.25 1:46.34

Single Age Progression: International Men’s 200 FR SCM (Ages 15-25)

Name Country 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Danas Rapsys LTU 1:57.05 2:04.32 1:49.03 1:46.07 1:44.19 1:44.49 1:40.85 1:40.95 1:41.12
Clyde Lewis AUS 1:52.51 1:50.78 1:47.20 1:46.22 1:43.52 1:42.50
James Guy GBR 1:50.10 1:47.61 1:46.13 1:43.74 1:43.28 1:42.93 1:42.22 1:44.13 1:42.11
Duncan Scott GBR 1:48.02 1:46.94 1:44.80 1:42.47 1:43.07 1:43.09 1:40.92
Aleksandr Krasnykh RUS 1:52.11 1:51.20 1:47.10 1:44.26 1:42.30 1:41.95 1:42.02 1:42.26 1:47.69
Townley Haas USA 1:49.16 1:45.87 1:43.48

_________________________________________________________

2016-2021 Olympic Cycle: US Men’s 200 FR LCM

Rank Swimmer World Rank Time Meet
1 Townley Haas 5 1:45.03 2017 Summer US Nationals
2 Andrew Seliskar 18 1:45.70 2018 Summer US Nationals
3 Blake Pieroni 20 1:45.93 2018 Summer US Nationals
4 Kieran Smith 25 1:46.21 2019 Summer US Nationals
5 Jack LeVant 29 1:46.39 2018 Summer US Nationals
5 Zane Grothe 29 1:46.39 2017 Summer US Nationals
7 Dean Farris 33 1:46.45 2019 Summer US Nationals
8 Luca Urlando 34 1:46.51 2019 Summer US Nationals

*Conor Dwyer (1:46.08) is now retired, however, he was ranked 4th in the US 21st in the world with his 2018 Summer US Nationals time.

Single Age Progression: US Men’s 200 FR LCM (Ages 8-25)

Name 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Townley Haas 2:54.73 2:37.80 2:30.21 2:21.38 2:16.94 2:05.35 1:55.10 1:50.34 1:48.29 1:47.55 1:45.58 1:45.03 1:45.56 1:45.92 1:47.48
Andrew Seliskar 2:50.74 2:27.64 2:25.19 2:14.96 2:12.38 2:00.38 1:52.75 1:52.49 1:50.22 1:50.29 1:45.70 1:45.71 1:46.91
Blake Pieroni 2:47.85 2:30.13 2:21.61 2:15.37 2:07.47 2:01.83 1:55.80 1:52.35 1:49.98 1:48.85 1:47.30 1:47.93 1:46.30 1:45.93 1:46.62 1:48.12
Kieran Smith 3:07.60 2:31.72 2:26.10 2:21.97 2:19.77 2:14.16 2:01.72 1:54.12 1:53.26 1:50.58 1:47.72 1:46.21
Jack LeVant 2:45.44 2:28.32 2:15.53 2:18.86 2:02.92 1:59.63 1:53.61 1:51.70 1:48.70 1:46.39 1:50.60 1:49.25
Zane Grothe 2:29.98 2:22.21 2:18.70 2:10.49 2:02.27 1:58.43 1:54.08 1:54.60 1:55.04 1:52.17 1:50.82 1:50.36 1:50.60 1:47.11 1:47.61 1:46.39
Dean Farris 2:39.63 2:32.17 2:20.93 2:13.18 2:12.04 2:08.19 2:07.79 1:59.54 1:55.67 1:52.29 1:50.39 1:47.94 1:46.45 1:47.38
Luca Urlando 2:35.80 2:20.27 2:03.85 2:00.30 1:57.28 1:47.73 1:46.51

Single Age Progression: US Men’s 200 FR SCY (Ages 8-25)

Name 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
Townley Haas 2:28.27 2:16.98 2:08.79 2:02.12 1:56.32 1:45.60 1:39.94 1:36.94 1:35.19 1:33.38 1:30.46 1:30.65 1:29.50 1:31.80
Andrew Seliskar 2:15.70 2:05.55 2:01.73 1:53.35 1:44.36 1:40.76 1:35.34 1:35.17 1:34.94 1:39.65 1:33.31 1:31.28 1:30.14
Blake Pieroni 2:55.39 2:21.20 2:14.21 2:06.93 1:59.22 1:53.95 1:45.88 1:40.23 1:37.77 1:37.04 1:35.87 1:33.10 1:32.33 1:30.87 1:29.63
Kieran Smith 2:28.18 2:13.08 2:05.48 2:04.56 1:58.21 1:51.75 1:44.19 1:38.86 1:37.28 1:34.89 1:35.06 1:30.11
Jack LeVant 3:08.56 2:26.75 2:07.82 1:59.76 1:56.04 1:52.49 1:44.44 1:41.79 1:37.35 1:35.42 1:33.57 1:32.61 1:33.79
Zane Grothe 2:13.86 2:07.36 2:01.17 1:55.92 1:53.03 1:44.27 1:43.08 1:39.95 1:40.15 1:35.09 1:35.16 1:34.14 1:34.91 1:35.08 1:34.97 1:34.83 1:33.28
Dean Farris 2:30.25 2:09.30 2:02.75 1:58.86 1:55.50 1:51.85 1:48.10 1:44.06 1:38.70 1:36.00 1:31.56 1:31.12 1:29.15
Luca Urlando 2:29.63 2:03.45 1:54.52 1:46.34 1:41.98 1:37.50 1:34.38 1:35.34

More from the Roadmaps Series:

In This Story

36
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
36 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Joel
5 months ago

Wow. Urlando dropped 10 seconds from age 15 to 16 long course . That’s incredible

SAMUEL HUNTINGTON
Reply to  Joel
5 months ago

and Haas dropped 10 seconds from age 14 to 15. Age groupers always have big time drops

Ragnar
5 months ago

Will the mens 2021 Olympic 200m free champion be faster(upvote) or slower(downvote) than the Thorpedo’s 1:44.06 in 2001?

Joe
Reply to  Ragnar
5 months ago

Crazy that this is a valid question 20 years on.

frug
Reply to  Joe
5 months ago

Even nuttier is the fact that the 400 fr winner might not be as fast as Thorpe’s 3:41.83 from the ’99 Pan Pacs when Thorpe was 16 and wearing briefs.

Jeff
Reply to  Ragnar
5 months ago

I think it’s unlikely and I reckon the only two I could see doing it would be Scott or Rapsys. Having said that if there is anywhere for a crazy performance to occur it’s at the Olympics.

Svird
Reply to  Jeff
5 months ago

Has the 200 free field regressed? I get that the super suits made the WR ridiculous, but still, feels like the event has been stagnating.

Jeff
Reply to  Svird
5 months ago

I think the depth is there but the raw speed isn’t and so it isn’t as quick.

Pvdh
Reply to  Svird
5 months ago

I don’t think it regressed. Thorpe and Phelps to a lesser extent were two of the most prolific swimmers ever and they happens to have 200 free on the radar Compared to everyone else during their time the event has progressed. Not counting super suits

Joe
Reply to  Svird
5 months ago

I don’t think it has. Times might not be dropping at the top end, but the depth has improved. It now takes a 1:45 to final, which is much quicker than in years gone by (in 2011 Worlds, which had 5 guys under 1:45 in the final, it only took 1:47 to final)

Thorpe, PVDH and Phelps were clearly aliens. No one else in the 2000s was even close to being that quick in textile.

At the start of the 2010s, there were a bunch of textile 1:44s (Lochte, Phelps, Biedermann, Agnel, Park, Sun), but basically no-one else under 1:46. So whilst the times of medallists have stagnated, overall the times have definitely been getting quicker.

frug
Reply to  Svird
5 months ago

Part of the issue is the fact the 200 fr WR has had a weird progression over the last 35 years. From 1950-1984 the 200 WR never stayed put longer than 2 years. But Michael Gross’ ’84 WR lasted more than 4 years until Duncan Armstrong broke at the ’88 OG. Giorgio LAmberti broke it less than a year later which seemed an indication that things were back on track… except for whatever reason progress just stopped. Then 10 years later Grant Hackett stunned everyone (including himself) by basically breaking Lambert’s WR by accident while swimming a relay with his club team. Thorpe got a hold of the record 5 months later after which he and PvdH would lower it… Read more »

Pvdh
Reply to  Ragnar
5 months ago

I think we will see a 1:43 next year

Joe
5 months ago

Wonder what this would look like if you added the Thorpedo.

Togger
Reply to  Joe
5 months ago

Not sure digital records will go back that far other than major international meets, so his earlier times might not be out there.

At 15, he split 1.47.67 in the 4×200 at 1998 World Champs, so you could pretty safely chalk him down for being the only sub 1:50 at 15. He did that in a brief.

At 16 he was 1.46 flat for the then world record. Also a brief.

At 17 he went 1.45.83.

At 18 he went that 1:44.06.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Togger
5 months ago

1:45.37 at 17

Togger
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
5 months ago

Did him a disservice only looking at the finals times, didn’t see he did that time in the semis. Insane.

Joe
Reply to  Togger
5 months ago

Did some trawling myself.

1:46.70 at 15 (in the 1998 Commonwealth Games). 0.01s outside the WR at the time, which had stood since 1989. Holy smokes.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Joe
5 months ago

also 1:50.07 at 14

Togger
Reply to  Joe
5 months ago

Absolutely mental.

We, rightly, get excited about some of the great young talent coming through like Urlando and Foster.

But when we start throwing out comparisons to swimmers of the past, it’s worth remembering these younger guys, brilliant as they are, started going significant senior level times around 17.

Phelps and Thorpe were not just doing relevant times but properly world class senior swimmers two full years younger. By seventeen they were amongst the best swimmers on the planet. It’s not fair to the put same expectation on young kids.

Joe
Reply to  Togger
5 months ago

Phelps and Thorpe were, respectively, individual world record holders and gold medallists at 15.

By the time they were 18, both were full-blown superstars, the global face of the sport of swimming, with all the media scrutiny and publicity that comes with it. Of the current generation only Ledecky and maybeee Dressel comes close in terms of transcending the sport like this. (and I’d argue that neither are on the same level of superstardom. Social media is the currency of today, and both have fewer Insta followers than Boomer Phelps 😮 )

GOAT life isn’t easy.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Joe
5 months ago

wouldn’t put dressel in that category. he didn’t make a national team until he turned 19 and he broke out at 20

Ragnar
Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
5 months ago

Ledecky is the only swimmer even close since MP or Thorpe with that name recognition plus WRs at such a young age, because while Sarah Sjostrom crashed the scene at 15/16 in 2009 with a WR, and now holds 4 WR in LCM, Olympic dominance has alluded her, and those outside of this website or Sweden people wouldn’t know her name.

Socaladvracer
Reply to  Joe
5 months ago

#ReganSmith

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Socaladvracer
5 months ago

Nah fam. 2 WRs and a World championship don’t make you Thorpe or Phelps.

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro has had a huge passion for swimming since his first dive in the pool, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing, but still uses the sport as his go-to cardio. SwimSwam has become an outlet for him to continue showing his …

Read More »