This 2012 Short Course World Championship for American Ryan Lochte has felt much different than his 2010 meet. Though he’s now the face of American men’s swimming, this meet has somehow still been quieter for him.
Yet, here he is, without missing stride, breaking his own World Record in the men’s 200 IM on Friday with a 1:49.63. He became with that swim the first man ever under the 1:50 mark in the race and blew away the competition early. His old record was a 1:50.08 from the 2010 Shrot Course Worlds (where he also broke the 400 IM record).
A look at the comparative splits:
Lochte’s focus in the last few months really showed up in this IM. He was much better on the butterfly leg (which is newly-found a focus event of his) leading off; he was much better on the breaststroke leg (which was his focus in 2010 headed into 2011); and he had a lot more speed before burning out a bit on the freestyle leg.
Here’s what’s really crazy: the second-best swimmer in this race is Darian Townsend from South Africa, almost two seconds behind in a 1:51.55. That’s the biggest gap of any men’s World Record 400 meters or shorter.
This is now the fifth-straight World Championship meet (dating back to the 2008 Short Course Championships in Manchester) where he has broken a 200 IM World Record. He also got it in 2006, though Phelps interrupted by getting the 2007 record in Australia.