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 to pick between five of the tougher remaining world records from the super-suit era.
Question: Which of these world records will fall first:
- Men’s 200 back – 1:51.92 – 45.9%
- Men’s 400 IM – 4:03.84 – 26.7%
- Men’s 400 free – 3:40.07 – 13.6%
- Men’s 800 free – 7:32.12 – 7.0%
- Men’s 200 free – 1:42.00 – 6.8%
Almost half of voters picked the 200 back from our list of five, with the 400 IM the clear-cut #2.
Aaron Peirsol set the 200 back world record to 1:51.92 back in July of 2009. Prior to that swim, no man had been under 1:52.8, and since the ban of the super-suits, no man has been under 1:52.9. The 1:53s, however, have become much more attainable in recent years. Mitch Larkin was 1:53.1 back in 2015. Ryosuke Irie was 1:53.2 in 2014. More recently, Russia’s Evgeny Rylov has been 1:53.3 and 1:53.4 over the past two years (2018 and 2019), while American Ryan Murphy went 1:53.5 in 2018.
There’s still a long ways to go for Rylov, Murphy, or another young talent to reach that record. But it’s much less distance than some of the other records in our poll.
Michael Phelps‘ 4:03.84 remains the top swim in the history of the 400 IM by 1.3 seconds. Since the fall of the suits, though, Ryan Lochte (4:05.18 in 2012) and Chase Kalisz (4:05.90) have both cracked 4:06. Japan’s Kosuke Hagino (4:06.05 in 2016) and Daiya Seto (4:06.09) have also moved into the top 5 all-time, and about a quarter of voters picked the 400 IM as the next mark to fall.
The three freestyle swims in our poll were clearly behind the back and IM events. Paul Biedermann‘s 1:42.00 in the 200 free has been a notoriously tricky mark to best. Since the end of the suit era, only Yannick Agnel (1:43.14 in 2012) has even come close. Outside of Agnel, the closest post-2010 swim to the world record has been a 1:44.38 from Danas Rapsys.
Biedermann also holds the 400 free record at 3:40.07. Ian Thorpe was only .01 slower many years earlier, though it’s not exactly pre-supersuits, as Thorpe was an early pioneer of the full-body racing suit that often even extended to his wrists. But in 2012, Sun Yang came within seven one-hundredths of Biedermann’s record. Outside of Sun, though, no one has been within 1.4 seconds of Biedermann’s swim.
Maybe most surprising is that 7% of voters picked the 800 free. Zhang Lin was 7:32.12 in 2009; no one has been within 6.4 seconds of that time since. However, with the 800 free now added to the Olympic program, there’s reason to believe we’ll see a big uptick in top distance swimmers prioritizing that event – and that’s probably the reason voters were somewhat more bullish on someone rising up to challenge Zhang’s record in the near-ish future.
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks voters which of the following women’s world records will fall first:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner