Sun Yang Breaks Grant Hackett's World Record in 1500 Freestyle

China’s Sun Yang, at only 19 years old, has chased down one of the few World Records that survived the polyurethane era, and broke Grant Hackett’s World Record in the men’s 1500 free in 14:34.14.

Even as late as 1300m into this race, the record seemed to be clearly out of reach, but in an excellent call, Speed Endurance’s Tom Willdridge pointed out that Grant Hackett didn’t finish his World Record swim of 14:34.46 all that hard, so that it wasn’t quite out of reach yet.

That clairvoyant call ended up being spot on, as Sun Yang Finished in a closing 100 meters of 54.2 seconds to clear the old mark that had stood since the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

The 6’6 Sun Yang is a giant of Chinese swimming, literally and figuratively, and he was clearly not laboring as hard as much of his competition throughout most of this race. But he labored just fine on his final 50, and took the all-time mark in a spectacular time. This is only the 2nd World Record broken after the polyurethane era, though obviously in 2001 Hackett did his swim in a textile suit as well. Hackett’s former mark was the oldest World Record on the books: men’s or women’s, short course or long.

The question now is what can he do from here on out? Hackett peaked, in terms of time, at a very young age – he was only 21 when he set this record – so Yang will try to avoid that and take this swim even lower. The comparison is not necessarily invalid, as Yang does most of his training with Denis Cotterel in the Gold Coast, Australia, who was also Grant Hackett’s coach for most of his career.

For  a full day 8 recap, click here.

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sub 26 last lap ! did he borrow lochte’s martian shoes or something ?


That was CRAZY. Hackett used to six-beat kick through the whole race. Sun Yang does this two-beat crossover kick and only turned on the burners in the last 100. He just kept this metronomic pace the whole way, and it didn’t even look like he was tired after. Unreal.


Sick, just sick. Most amazing is that he could actually drop some seconds to this time.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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