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
|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|
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
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
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
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)
Single Age Progression: International Men’s 200 FR SCM (Ages 15-25)
2016-2021 Olympic Cycle: US Men’s 200 FR LCM
|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)
Single Age Progression: US Men’s 200 FR SCY (Ages 8-25)
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