Sarah Köhler Clocks SCM 1500 Free World Record – 15:18.01


On the heels of an impressive performance by Florian Wellbrock, where the two-time World Champion cracked the German national record in the men’s 800m free, Sarah Köhler produced a historic swim in the women’s 1500m free tonight in Berlin.

Competing on the penultimate night of the 2019 German Short Couse National Championships, 25-year-old Köhler smashed a new lifetime best of 15:18.01 to register a new World Record in the 1500m free. Her time obliterated the previous WR mark of 15:19.71 that Spaniard Mireia Belmonte put on the books back at the 2014 Spanish Championships.

Entering these championships, Köhler’s personal best in the SCM version of this 1500 rested at the 15:39.74 she established 2 years ago at the Meeuw Cup. Prior to that, she clocked a mark of 15:56.41 in 2014.

As such, tonight marks just the 3rd time the German freestyle ace has been under the 16:00 threshold and she did it in spades.

Splits for Köhler in tonight’s WR-setting race are as follows:

Köhler is coming off of a successful long course World Championships, where she took 1500m freestyle silver in a new national record of 15:48.83.

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Her 800 split only missed her day old German record by a few tenths; Great swim! German distance swimming is in brilliant shape.


On paper yes, but i would rather put it like this:
Bernd Berkhahn is doing an amazing job, without him this never would have happened. He made Wellbrock (and Hentke) what they are today and after the 2018 european championships Köhler also started to train with him, now we can already see that it was the right decision.


Thanks for the information. Would you happen to know if he uses drastically different training methods to other German coaches? Koehler looks stronger than she did a few years ago, and Hentke was the same back around 2015/2016. Whatever he is doing is certainly working.


I think the main difference between him and many other german coaches is that he heavily relies on high altitude training camps. I think both Köhler and Wellbrock just came from a 4 week long high altitude training camp in Spain (Sierra Nevada). I also think that part of the reason why he is so successful is that he works closely with Norbert Warnatzsch (former coach of Franziska van Almsick and Britta Steffen) (in Magedburg).


So is it actually 15.08.01 as a reporter says or 15.18.01 as shown in the split table?






Interesting what result she is considering greater achievement: 15:48.83 (LCM) or 15:18.01 (SCM)?


I would definitely consider this swim more impressive, i would say that 15:18 roughly translates to 15.40 long course.
Of course the 1500 m short course is the least raced event, so we don’t have a lot of comparisons. I would definitely say that this is a new level for her, but sadly the olympics are still a long time away so it is far from certain that she will be able to translate this progression to the long course event.


I don’t know what the idea is behind those converters. If it is an averaging of a large statistical set of data than I wouldn’t expect it to be accurate. First of all you hardly find a swimmer who swam SCM and LCM under same conditions and secondly the difference in swimming LC and SC is very individual. For example, conversion of Ledecky’s results are pretty much acceptable. The conversion of Franklin’s 1:39 in March predicted world record in 200LCM in a few months at WC. She was 2.5 sec away from it. If it is some other biomechanical considerations then long distance events is a good example of confusion. You can see that long distance swimmer don’t use leg… Read more »


The short answer is you can’t; they are two completely different events. The swimmers who are world class at both are that way because they know how to race each one with the skills they have, rather than trying to swim each the same way.



About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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