SwimSwam Pulse: 40% Pick W 200 Fly As Longest-Lasting World Record

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers which long course world record would last longest:


Question: Which world record will last longest?

  • Women’s 200 fly – 2:01.81 – 40.2%
  • Men’s 200 free – 1:42.00 – 38.2%
  • Men’s 200 fly – 1:51.51 – 11.3%
  • Men’s 200 back – 1:51.92 – 5.6%
  • Other – 4.8%

More than 40% of SwimSwam voters selected Liu Zige‘s 2:01.81 in the 200 fly as the current world record that would last the longest, narrowly edging the men’s 200 free (1:42.00 from Paul Biedermann).

Both records came from 2009, the final year before the buoyant, rubberized full-body swimsuits known now as “supersuits” or “bodysuits” were banned for competition.

Zige’s 200 fly seems a natural choice. Since the beginning of 2010, no one has come within 2.25 seconds of the record, with the “textile best” standing at 2:04.06 from the 2012 Olympics. Zige herself never went faster than 2:04.40 after the suit ban.

The men’s 200 free is an interesting case, because while the record is much faster than we see year-to-year in that race these days, it has actually been approached closer than the other records in this poll. Yannick Agnel went 1:43.14 in 2012, coming within 1.1 seconds of Biedermann’s record. The 200 free is still brought up as a tough-to-crack record, though, perhaps in part because of how much faster Biedermann proved to be in a supersuit compared to many other athletes.

Votes for Biedermann’s record nearly matched votes for Zige’s in this poll, despite Zige’s time leading the textile-best by more than double the amount by which Biedermann’s swim tops the corresponding textile best.

In the men’s 200 fly, Michael Phelps was 1:51.51 back in 2009. Since then, no one has been within 1.2 seconds of the record. Kristof Milak has been the closest, going 1:52.71 last year. But Phelps still technically holds the textile-best time with a 1:52.09 from the 2007 World Championships. Though many other swimmers in his heat wore early bodysuits, Phelps wore only a jammer.

Aaron Peirsol was 1:51.92 in the 200 back in 2009. Ryan Lochte holds the textile-best, going 1:52.96 in 2011. Two others have been within a few tenths of Lochte’s time.


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Any women even breaking 2.07.0 is considered world class at present. It’s scary thinking belmonte is 2.05 and Olympic champ, 2.01.8 will be like Janet evans 8.16 that’s stood for years, unless a phenomenal athlete arises this will stand till 2040 maybe longer. Same with the 200free, it’s weird to think in 2011 lochte was 1.44.4 (of 51) and 5 guys (lochte / Phelps / beidermann / park / agnel) were all under 1.45.0. Since then only yang (at every major meet), izotov (2013) and park have broken 1.45.0 (obviously yannick 1.43.1 insane swim) 1.44 is like the holy grail and we’re talking about 1.41.99, that could be 2050 + How much better and faster and technically better can people… Read more »


I agree when you say at the moment 1.44 200 free is considered extremely fast and that therefore going 1.41 seems insane. However I don’t think that necessarily means we will have to wait 30 years before the record is broken. Swimming is growing throughout the world, it is easier to watch it on television, youtube, read about it on Swimswam etc. Basically the participation pool is getting larger and the media through which people are inspired always grows. Therefore like I said I do agree with you in the sense it seems unreachable now, but equally I wouldn’t be surprised if someone comes along in the next few years and consistently starts knocking on 1.43 low 1.42 high, then… Read more »


When Dana Vollmer came back after giving birth to her first child she said in her first interview that she will be 52 sec at 100free in Olympic year. Well,.. in 2015 it sounded like something very unrealistic that was said just to draw more attention to her return. At that time ’52’ club had historically a few members only (5 or 6) and it was elite of elite. She didn’t make it, but just in two years the 52 seconds in 100 free became a time “must swim” to be called a sprinter. 53 seconds is considered a pedestrian speed these days. It’s strange now that 53.34 made Missy Franklin fastest ever American sprinter in 100 free not long… Read more »


I woulnd’t be too surprised if it takes going under 52 seconds in the women’s 100m freestyle to make the podium come Tokyo 2020 the way things are going.


We never thought 18 was going to be broken until Dressel broke Cielo’s 18.4. Now the 50 free stands at 17.6. It only takes one athlete to break the barriers we never thought would be broken

bobo gigi

Women’s 200 fly insane crazy world record

bobo gigi

Men’s 200 free insane crazy world record

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bobo gigi

Men’s 200 fly world record

bobo gigi

Men’s 200 back world record

bobo gigi
Daniel Jablonski

I honestly see Milak taking down the 200 fly record eventually, and Murphy taking the backstroke. 200 fr, thats a question of what Haas and Pieroni are up for. But women’s 2fly thats completely unknown.

bobo gigi

No human can break the men’s 200 free and women’s 200 fly world records.

Tammy Touchpad Error







If Phelp’s goggles didn’t fill with water in Beijing, I believe we’d be looking at a 1:50 or better 200 fly world record. That being said, Milak has a shot if he stays on his trajectory.


It’s strange how fast people got used to Ledecky’s records considering them being more beatable than 200 fly record. The difference between 2.01 and 2.04 is 3 seconds that is huge at 200 distance. But the difference between 8.04 and 8.15 is 11 sec that will make the same proportion. One may argue that sprinters records are tougher since they are closer to the biological limits. But first of all, 200 isn’t sprint distance and secondly look what Sarah Sjostrom’s did last season: moving her personal best by almost 1 sec in 100 distance. Unfortunately, I cannot bet what record will stay longer: Ledecky’s or Zige’s because when it happens I won’t be around to collect.

bobo gigi

Women’s 800 free world record

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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