We have been witnessing some swimmers set many legendary world records in the last few years, such as Katie Ledecky, Katinka Hosszu, Adam Peaty and Caeleb Dressel. And, amazingly, they have been able to even improve their performances over the years, setting multiple world records in a row.
But who are the swimmers with the most world records, say, in the last 20 years?
Swimming Stats’ Instagram page has published the list of the swimmers with the most world records set in individual events across this century so far (remember that the 21st century began on January 1, 2001, not 2000).
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Unsurprinsingly, this is just one more ranking dominated by Michael Phelps. Across his career, he set 39 world records, more than any other swimmer in history. In individual events, he set 29 global standards, the first one being in 2001, kickstarting the century on the right foot.
The legendary Ian Thorpe could appear on the list, but he was not as “lucky” as Phelps. Thorpe set 17 world records during his career, which would put him #2 on the men’s list, only behind Phelps. But his records were set between 1998 and 2002, which means many of them (11) were in 1998-2000, ergo in the past century.
Curiously, in the men’s list, Phelps is the only one who didn’t break any short course world records – all of his world records were set in long course. His coach Bob Bowman shared the post as an Instagram story and wrote: “If you want medals at the Olympics, focus on LCM.” He knows what he’s talking about.
Maybe Aaron Peirsol doesn’t receive the credit he deserves as one of the greatest swimmers of all time. His figures show how great he is: 15 world records (13 in long course), trailing only Phelps in this century among men. Not to mention that all of his world records were set in only two events, the 100 and 200 backstroke, done while competing against other dominant names such as Lenny Krayzelburg and Ryan Lochte, which is very impressive.
In the women’s list, Katinka Hosszu ranks #1 with 20 world records, most of them set in short course (18). On the other hand, Katie Ledecky, who ranks second, has set all her 14 of her world records in long course. Also sitting with 14 is Sarah Sjostrom, with a more balanced statistic: eight in long course, six in short course.
Curiously, the top three on the women’s list are still active, and they can break more records in the years to come. In the men’s list, among the active swimmers, Adam Peaty appears in fifth with 11 world records, and Caeleb Dressel is eighth with seven world records. In other words, they still have some world records to break until they reach the top three – Ryan Lochte and Roland Schoeman are technically still active, but it’s very unlikely that they will move up on this list in coming years.