During the last edition of the World Aquatics Championships in 2019, Regan Smith set three world records: women’s 100 back, 200 back and 400 medley relay.
It is not an easy task to set multiple world records in a single championship. We might wonder if there are many swimmers who have broken three or more world records at the same edition. At the Olympic Games, it is well known that Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps set seven world records in 1972 and 2008, respectively, the most by any swimmer at a single Olympics.
But what about the World Championships? Instagram’s Swimming Stats page has published the list of the swimmers with the most world records set in a single World Championships.
Note: This includes both individual and relay world records.
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Unsurprisingly, Michael Phelps tops the list. With five world records set in one edition, he is tied only with… himself!
In fact, he set five world records both in 2003 and 2007. Coming into the 2003 Worlds, Phelps already had set a few world records (once in the 200 IM, twice in the 200 fly and 400 IM), but it was during that World Championships in Barcelona that he swam for the first time like the GOAT he would become. All five of his world records from that edition were set in individual events. In Barcelona, he became the first male swimmer to set two world records in individual events in the same day (100 fly and 200 IM).
In 2007, he also set five world records, four individual and one in a relay. He could have set a sixth world record, but the American 400 medley relay team was disqualified during the prelims.
There are three female swimmers who have set four world records in one edition. Tracy Caulkins is the only one to have set world records across three different individual events: in 1978, she broke the 200 fly, 200 and 400 IM standards, as well as the 400 freestyle relay.
There are four active swimmers on the list, all women. Lilly King was on fire in 2017 and set four world records (two individual, two relays). Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel and Regan Smith managed to set three world records apiece in a single edition, coming in 2015, 2017 and 2019, respectively.