Russia’s Evgeniia Chikunova Smashes Women’s 200 Breast World Record In 2:17.55


Rising star Evgeniia Chikunova absolutely obliterated the world record in the women’s 200 breaststroke on the final night of action at the Russian Swimming Championships in Kazan, putting up a time of 2:17.55 to dismantle the previous mark of 2:18.95.

The old world record, set by South African Tatjana Schoenmaker at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, marked the lone swim in history under the 2:19 barrier, and there had only been 16 swims sub-2:20 before Chikunova unbelievably surpasses the 2:18 threshold by a relatively wide margin.

The 18-year-old drops nearly three seconds off her previous personal best, which stood at 2:20.41 from Russia’s Solidarity Games in July 2022.

Chikunova’s closing splits were absolutely deadly—particularly the final 50. One one-hundredth under world record pace at the final, turn, she out-split Schoenmaker by 1.39 seconds coming home.

Split Comparison

Schoenmaker, Old WR Chikunova, Old PB Chikunova, New WR
31.64 32.67 32.13
1:07.06 (35.42) 1:08.90 (36.23) 1:07.28 (35.15)
1:42.48 (35.42) 1:44.80 (35.90) 1:42.47 (35.19)
2:18.95 (36.47) 2:20.41 (35.61) 2:17.55 (35.08)


Chikunova has been on good form all week, first resetting her best time in the 50 breast (30.54) before becoming the eighth woman to break 1:05 in the 100 breast in 1:04.92.

The 200 has always been her specialty, however, as she finished fourth in her Olympic debut in Tokyo, clocking 2:20.88 to fall .04 shy of the bronze medal.

In this morning’s prelims of the 200 breast, she split 1:10.14/1:12.05 en route to a seemingly-effortless time of 2:22.19, indicating she had something big in store for the final.

This past November, Chikunova narrowly missed the world record in the SCM 200 breast, clocking 2:14.70 to break the European Record and come within 13 one-hundredths of the all-time mark established by Rebecca Soni in 2009.

In addition to the world record, Chikunova’s effort on Friday also gives her the European Record in the LCM event, lowering the 2:19.11 mark established by Denmark’s Rikke Moller Pedersen in 2013, and takes the Russian Record of 2:19.41 set by Yuliya Efimova 10 years ago off the books as well.

All-Time Performers, Women’s 200 Breaststroke (LCM)

  1. Evgeniia Chikunova (RUS), 2:17.55 – 2023 Russian Championships
  2. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:18.95– Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  3. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.11 – 2013 World Championships
  4. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.41 – 2013 World Championships
  5. Rebecca Soni (USA), 2:19.59 – 2012 Olympic Games
  6. Viktoria Gunes (TUR), 2:19.64 – 2015 World Junior Championships
  7. Rie Kaneto (JPN), 2:19.65 – 2016 Japanese Nationals
  8. Lilly King (USA), 2:19.92 – Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  9. Annamay Pierse (CAN), 2:20.12 – 2009 World Championships
  10. Leisel Jones (AUS), 2:20.54 – 2006 Australian Commonwealth Trials

One of the most mind-boggling stats to figure is that Chikunova was nearly five seconds faster than what Lilly King went to win the 2022 world title last year (2:22.41).

Chikunova’s swim is over three and a half seconds faster than the quickest time we saw in all of 2022, King’s 2:21.19 at U.S. Trials, and ranks her first in the world this season by over four and a half seconds.

2022-2023 LCM Women 200 Breast

2:17.55 WR
View Top 27»

Looking at the fastest performances in history, Moller Pedersen and Efimova went on an absolute demolition derby in the 200 breast in 2013 and 2014, combining to produce more than half (nine of 17) of the sub-2:20 swims in history.

All-Time Performances, Women’s 200 Breaststroke (LCM)

  1. Evgeniia Chikunova (RUS), 2:17.55 – 2023 Russian Championships
  2. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:18.95– Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  3. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.11 – 2013 World Championships
  4. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:19.16– Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  5. Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2:19.33– Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  6. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.41 – 2013 World Championships
  7. Rebecca Soni (USA), 2:19.59 – 2012 Olympic Games
  8. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.61 – 2014 Eindhoven Swim Cup
  9. Viktoria Gunes (TUR) / Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.64 – 2015 World Junior Championships / 2017 World Championships
  10. Rie Kaneto (JPN), 2:19.65 – 2016 Japanese Nationals
  11. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.67 – 2014 Mare Nostrum – Canet
  12. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.83 – 2017 Mare Nostrum – Barcelona
  13. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.84 – 2014 European Championships
  14. Yuliya Efimova (RUS), 2:19.85 – 2013 World Championships
  15. Lilly King (USA), 2:19.92 – Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
  16. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN), 2:19.94 – 2014 Danish Open
  17. Rebecca Soni (USA), 2:20.00 – 2012 Olympic Games
  18. Rie Kaneto (JPN), 2:20.04 – 2016 Super Series Perth
  19. Rikke Moller Pedersen (DEN), 2:20.08– 2013 World Championships

In 2022, World Aquatics told SwimSwam that records set by Russian and Belarusian would officially count, provided all of the required criteria were met, as they were never barred from swimming but rather uninvited to competitions.

World Aquatics’ restriction on Russian and Belarusian athletes remains in effect. The World Aquatics Bureau is set to discuss it in July, which will leave Russian and Belarusians out of this summer’s World Championships.

Chikunova’s performance marks the fourth female long course world record we’ve seen in the past six weeks, as Australian Kaylee McKeown set a new 200 back mark (2:03.14) in early March and then Summer McIntosh set a pair of world records in the 400 free (3:56.08) and 400 IM (4:25.87) at the Canadian Trials three weeks later.

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1 month ago

My stroke is extremely similar to hers. I used to get criticism from coaches because my stroke turnover rate wasn’t very fast but it was because I relied on my legs to provide power. Once I felt myself slowing down to a certain speed during the glide phase, I’d take another stroke and repeat. Always worked well for me in the 200 but you need very powerful kicks to be effective.

1 month ago

Bravo Chikunova! If you think something is impossible, then it means only one thing: it’s not you who will do it.

1 month ago

you’re so brave to blame a 18-year kid for a state politics of the past.
that’s pretty funny.
as russians say, you want to find a speck in someone else’s eye, but fail to see a beam in his own.
i’m sure we all still remember serena’s look on the tennis court. her muscles were amazing. later, some information was leaked that she took up to 6 banned drugs at a time. as tue, of course.
the entire norwegian ski racing team is recorded as suffering from asthma. so all of them are allowed to take drugs. as tue, of course. surprisingly, in neighboring sweden and finland, asthma is not attributed to the epidemic in a funny… Read more »

Reply to  Rusfed
1 month ago

There are lots of Russians at the top of international federations. Who told you there were no Russians at the top of international federations?

FISU is led by a Russian. Fencing, shooting, and boxing federations are all headed by Russians. Most federations have a Russian somewhere on their executive board – because Russia has a lot of power because of their willingness to shell out $$$ to host major international events.

Reply to  Braden Keith
1 month ago

who told you fencing is headed by russian?

shooting?? who does care about shooting? no one is interested in shooting.

russia has always been belonging to the top 3 sport countries – both in winter and summer, but represented at the top of 2 meaningless federations only.

no one in fina, iaaf etc. no one even in fis or ibu.

if you speak about $, do you mean americans are elected just because the world love them? do you think atlanta has been elected as a host over athens in 1996 – on the 100th anniversary of the olympics – gratuitously? do you think france is not responsible for the kuwait election as a host in football? do you think… Read more »

Reply to  Rusfed
1 month ago

Get your facts straight before you make accusations. Atlanta HELPED Athens as they were nowhere near ready to put on the Games in 1996. They barely got it together by 2004. If Athens had tried to put on the Olympics in 1996 (even though we all wish they could have), it would have been a disaster.

Reply to  MarkB
1 month ago

during the elections, it can not be a fact. if a host city will be ready on time, you’ll see many years after.

Reply to  Rusfed
1 month ago

Ah yeah I’m sure the state sponsored doping was only happening in the past and Russia learned their lesson. They had such a massive punishment so how could they not? Trust in Rusada!

Reply to  Bossanova
1 month ago

as my friend markb says (s.above), get your facts before you make accusations.
do you have any? for sure not.
but i do. i do have facts the us athletes are still consuming doping.
as tue.

Alison England
1 month ago

What a beautiful stroke.

Reply to  Alison England
1 month ago

Indeed! splendid, amazing glide. And her reaction at the end.

Golden Summer
Reply to  Alison England
1 month ago

Very much reminds me of Leisel Jones stroke

Reply to  Alison England
1 month ago

Her and Chupkov – so beautiful.

1 month ago

It’s Saturday morning. Why World Aquatics dldn’t mention Chikunova’s WR on its website and its latest news? When McKeown broke 200 back record or McIntosh smashed WR, the news were reported a few minutes later. 🤔🤔

Doping control
Reply to  Greenangel
1 month ago

It’s because of the reputation Russia has for doping their athletes. So when you hear of an unbelievable swim by a Russian athlete on home soil improving by 3 seconds, then you immediately wonder if It’s legit!! It’s unfortunate though because there are a few Russian athletes who don’t dope but their performances will always be viewed with suspicion.

5th stroke
1 month ago

very smooth stroke…hardly any splash

Golden Summer
1 month ago

If the pool and meet is not WA-ratified and sanctioned, will the WR be official?

Last edited 1 month ago by Golden Summer
Reply to  Golden Summer
1 month ago

That doesn’t matter for ratifying a WR.

Reply to  Golden Summer
1 month ago

The pool needs to be measured, but it’s the pool that was used for 2015 World Champs so it’s going to be legit.

WA has expressly said that records set will count as long as they meet the requirements

Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

No it isn’t

Reply to  Swimm
1 month ago

I don’t know why you’re getting downvoted. I don’t think it’s the same pool. Same city, but Kazan 2015 was a temporary pool.

The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

What odds would you give Chikunova to beat Peaty in a head to head 200 Breast? His season best is 2:16.4

Say we organised the race for one week today.

Last edited 1 month ago by The unoriginal Tim
m d e
Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
1 month ago

0 chance if Peaty was willing to compete for it, just has way, way too much of an advantage in raw speed.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  m d e
1 month ago

Not right now he don’t, lol

M d e
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Peaty could go her 100pb without trying.

Fraser Thorpe
Reply to  M d e
1 month ago

The hypothetical was literally stated as a 200 – what relevance has the 100 for with anything? That’s the whole point, we know he’s faster over the 100 by a significant margin, even unfit, but could that save him over the last 100.

m d e
Reply to  Fraser Thorpe
1 month ago

The 100 has a lot of relevance, do you actually think a swimmers ability in a 100 and a 200 are completely unrelated?

Because if someone can swim 100 metres faster than your 100 PB without trying they can take the 200 out quicker than your 100 PB without trying and then maintain a lead in the back half.

Peaty has been 2:08, this season he has apparently been 2:16.4, which is still a lot quicker than Chikunova. She would have absolutely 0 chance of beating him.

Peaty has way, way too much speed for this race to be competitive, and to pretend otherwise is ridiculous.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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