SwimSwam Pulse: 49.6% See Women’s 200 IM World Record As Most At Risk From 2010s

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.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers which world record established in the previous decade is most on the chopping block at the upcoming Olympic Games:

Question: Which world record from the 2010s is most likely to fall at the Paris Olympics?


  • Women’s 200 IM – 49.6%
  • Men’s 1500 free – 24.9%
  • Women’s 100 free – 9.8%
  • Men’s 200 IM – 9.4%
  • Women’s 100 breast – 3.6%
  • Women’s 800 free – 1.4%
  • Men’s 100 breast – 0.8%
  • Women’s 1500 free – 0.6%

We’ve spent a lot of time hypothesizing about when the remaining super-suited world record will fall.

Leon Marchand took Michael Phelps‘ longstanding mark in the men’s 400 IM off the books last year, but there are still several remaining (individual), including two from Paul Biedermann, the otherworldly men’s 800 free and women’s 200 fly from China’s Zhang Lin and Liu Zige, and Cesar Cielo‘s 50 free and Aaron Peirsol‘s 200 back.

But what about the world records set in the 2010s? These swims don’t get quite as much attention, due to the significance of the super-suit era in swimming history, but when will some of those records set from 2010 through 2019 go down?

There are eight such long course records standing, and the men’s 1500 free seemed to be the clear frontrunner coming in after 45% of readers voted that 14:30 would be the next big men’s barrier to fall in January.

However, after 2023 world champion and the second-fastest fastest 1500 performer in history, Ahmed Hafnaoui, surprisingly withdrew from the Olympics, the likelihood of Sun Yang‘s world record going down seemed to diminish, if only slightly.

In the poll, it wasn’t the men’s 1500 free that came out on top. Instead, it was the women’s 200 IM, which garnered nearly half of the votes at 49.6%.

This checks out after 2:06 in the 200 IM was voted the next big barrier to fall on the women’s side.

The women’s 200 IM is arguably the most anticipated swimming event of the Games, with four of the eight-fastest performers (and seven of the top 12) in history set to go to battle.

Kate Douglass is the reigning two-time world champion (2023/2024), Alex Walsh won the world title in 2022, and Kaylee McKeown (2:06.63) and Summer McIntosh (2:06.89) rank #3 and #6 all-time, respectively, with only six women having ever been under the 2:07 threshold.

The world record stands at 2:06.12, set by Katinka Hosszu at the 2015 World Championships.

All-Time Performers, Women’s 200 IM (LCM)

  1. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:06.12 – 2015 World Championships
  2. Ariana Kukors (USA), 2:06.15 – 2009 World Championships
  3. Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 2:06.63 – 2024 Australian Olympic Trials
  4. Kate Douglass (USA), 2:06.79 – 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials
  5. Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (GBR), 2:06.88 – 2016 Olympic Games
  6. Summer McIntosh (CAN), 2:06.89 – 2023 Canadian Trials
  7. Stephanie Rice (AUS), 2:07.03 – 2009 World Championships
  8. Alex Walsh (USA), 2:07.13 – 2022 World Championships
  9. Ye Shiwen (CHN), 2:07.57 – 2012 Olympic Games
  10. Sydney Pickrem (CAN), 2:07.68 – 2024 Canadian Olympic Trials

In Paris, the final of the women’s 200 IM will fall on the night of August 3 (Day 8), the second-last session of the Games, meaning fatigue could play a factor.

On Day 6, McIntosh will have finals of the 200 fly and 800 free relay. Douglass will have the 200 breast final. On Day 7, McKeown will have the 200 back final less than an hour before the 200 IM semi.

Walsh is the only one of the four with a light schedule in Paris, and given she’s the only one who hasn’t broken 2:07, it’s possible we see 2:06 mid-to-high win gold, leaving Hosszu’s record on the books for the foreseeable future.

At the 2016 Games in Rio, we saw Hosszu smash the world record in the 400 IM on Day 1, win an upset gold medal in the 100 back on Day 3, and then in the 200 IM on Day 4, she couldn’t reach her world record despite being on the best form of her career (based on the 400 IM performance).

When she set the world record at the 2015 World Championships, the 200 IM final was on Day 2, so she was fresh.

The men’s 1500 free was the only other option to receive more than 10% of votes, earning just under a quarter of the total.

Even without Hafnaoui, there are still four men in the field who have been under 14:35 (of the seven in history), led by American Bobby Finke who is the favorite to defend his title from Tokyo after clocking 14:31.59 at the 2023 World Championships—just over half a second back of Sun’s 2012 standard of 14:31.02.

Gregorio Paltrinieri (14:32.80), Daniel Wiffen (14:34.07) and Florian Wellbrock (14:34.89) are the other three sub-14:35, though Wiffen is the only swimmer in the world to have broken 14:40 in the 2023-24 season.

Next up was the women’s 100 free and the men’s 200 IM, both receiving more than nine percent of votes.

At the 2017 World Championships, Sarah Sjostrom busted through the 52-second barrier in 51.71, setting the 100 free world record leading off Sweden’s 400 free relay. Since then, the only other sub-52 swim on record is the 51.96 Emma McKeon produced at the Tokyo Olympics.

This season, Siobhan Haughey leads the world rankings after blitzing a 52.02 in October, the #3 swim ever, while Marrit Steenbergen and Mollie O’Callaghan are the other two who have been sub-52.5.

At the 2023 World Championships, O’Callaghan won the 100 free in 52.16 and went 52.08 leading off the Australian 400 free relay, making her arguably the top candidate to break Sjostrom’s record alongside Haughey.

In the men’s 200 IM, it comes down to Leon Marchand or Wang Shun, the 2023 world champion versus the defending Olympic champion.

Marchand joined Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps in the sub-1:55 club at the 2023 Worlds in 1:54.82, and Wang joined them two months later at the Asian Games in 1:54.62.

Lochte’s world record has stood for 13 years, having clocked 1:54.00 in 2011, and he and Phelps still combine to own the seven fastest swims ever.

If Marchand is able to take down the record, it will bring the house down in front of the Paris crowd. If it’s Wang, there will be an uproar after it was revealed he was one of the 23 Chinese swimmers who tested positive for an illegal substance prior to the Tokyo Olympics.

The other event garnering more than 2% of votes was the women’s 100 breast, where Lilly King‘s record of 1:04.13 has stood since 2017 but Tang Qianting (1:04.39) and Ruta Meilutyte (1:04.62) have both come close over the last 12 months.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: Who would you want to see in a swimming docuseries?

If Netflix did a behind-the-scenes docuseries on swimming, which athlete would be your #1 pick to be included?

View Results

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Aragon Son of Arathorne
18 days ago

I liked Kate’s approach at trials. She sent it the first half and held her momentum, and STILL took it home. I don’t know about the WR but she is as dangerous as Summer and McKeown in this race.

18 days ago

Definitely possible, but since it’s one of the last events, I don’t think it’s more likely than men’s 1500 FR or women’s 100 BR

18 days ago

The 1500 men’s WR just needs to go. I don’t care how hard the boys have to push each other, but I don’t want to see Sun Yang’s name next to it anymore. We need that final nail in his career’s coffin.

As for the next poll, I voted Arnie. And to be honest. I just want a glimpse at how this group operates. I watched that track docu on Netflix and how the Jamaican ladies couldn’t train with each other without clawing each other’s eyes out or something… So I wanna see how Dean Boxall of all people manages his squad.

Last edited 18 days ago by FST
Genevieve Nnaji
Reply to  FST
18 days ago

“I watched that track docu on Netflix and how the Jamaican ladies couldn’t train with each other without clawing each other’s eyes out or something… So I wanna see how Dean Boxall of all people manages his squad.”

Richard Quick said he had to separate Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson training into different pools because they became too competitive with each other. Incredibly, both swimmers swam the exact same 100 free time in 54.43 to win bronze behind Inge De Bruijn and Therese Alshammar in Sydney 2000.

Tracy Kosinski
18 days ago

Summer will break the WR. No problem for a tapered, distance swimmer of her caliber.

Genevieve Nnaji
Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
18 days ago

I don’t know whether Summer will break WR, but in my book she’s the favorite to win 200 IM

She will also win 200 fly and 400 IM.

18 days ago

I agree that the position on the schedule will make it unlikely that it goes down

For me, most likely WR is MOC breaking the 100 free WR on night 1 leading off the relay in 51.6x, and then winning the individual in 51.8x

Reply to  Andy
18 days ago

I think you are right, but I would love to Sarah Sjostrom swim under her world record on the Swedish relay team (she is not racing it individually).

Genevieve Nnaji
Reply to  Andy
18 days ago

It would be parallel to how Sjostrom broke 100 free WR: leading off 4×100 free on day 1 at 2017 Budapest World Championship.

And similar to how Pan Zhanle broke 100 WR free WR: leading off 4×100 free on day 1 at 2024 Doha World Championship.

18 days ago

2:06.1 is harder than it seems – I feel like you need to be as well-rounded as McKeown and also need to be fresh enough to come home in a 30 low while matching Hosszu’s front half. I’d put money on it falling in 2025 but not in Paris

18 days ago

2IM is going down.

It’s late in the program for the top contenders, but the adrenaline invoked among this group of competitors should overcome heavy legs.

Maybe not for all three, but the odds that all three miss the mark seems slim.

Looking forward to this race to see what happens.

18 days ago

Too many 2:07’s help

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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