There Has Only Been 1 Short-Course WR in 2023 — Has the Number Ever Been So Low Before?

by Daniel Takata 20

December 16th, 2023 News, SwimmingStats

On the last day, during the last individual event of the 2023 European Short Course
Championships, Daniel Wiffen from Ireland broke the meet’s sole world record in the
men’s 800 freestyle with a time of 7:20.46. He demolished the legendary world record of 7:23.42
set by Australia’s Grant Hackett back on July 20, 2008, which made it the oldest world
record still on the books.

The European Championships were the last major short-course meet of 2023, and
therefore the last major opportunity to break world records. Had Wiffen not surpassed
the 800 freestyle world record, the year would most likely have ended without world
records in the short course.

And that would have been unprecedented.

Since World Aquatics (then-FINA) started to recognize short-course world records after
March 3, 1991, there has not been a single year that ended without world records in
individual events. It’s worth noting that in the 50 backstroke, 50 breaststroke, 50 butterfly and 100 IM events, World Aquatics started to recognize short course world records after October 31, 1994. Swimming Stats’ Instagram page has published the list with the number of short-course
world records in individual events by year, since 1991.

Besides 2023, the only other year in which only one world record was set was 2011.
That year, Missy Franklin from the United States set a new women’s 200 backstroke
global standard of 2:00.03 at the Berlin leg of the World Cup.

In fact, 2011 was the only year in which there were no men’s world records in individual
events in short-course meters. In women’s events, this occurred in 1991, 1994, 2010 and,
so far, 2023.

On the other hand, it is no surprise that the year in which the most individual world
records were set was 2009, due to hi-tech suits. There were 65 world records, 38 by
women and 27 by men. It is followed by 2008, with 46 world records, and 2002, with
29 world records.

Trivia 1: The first officially recognized short course world record was set by Mark
Tewksbury from Canada, on March 16, 1991, in the men’s 100 backstroke with the time
of 52.71. The world’s best by then was owned by Tewksbury himself with 52.89, which
he had set one month earlier.

Trivia 2: Katinka Hosszu from Hungary is the swimmer who has broken world records
the most times in short course: 18, from 2013 to 2017, in the 200 backstroke, 100, 200, and 400 IM. She is followed by American Ryan Lochte, Finnish Jani Sievinen and
British Mark Foster, with 10. Hosszu is also the swimmer who has set the most world
records in a calendar year: 9, in 2014. Among men, Alexander Popov leads with six
world records set in 1994.

Trivia 3: Grant Hackett‘s 800 freestyle world record is the longest standing one in
history. It lasted from July 20, 2008 until December 10, 2023, which means 15 years,
143 days. American Alison Wagner’s 200 IM world record is the closest one, having lasted 14 years, 129 days, from 1993 until 2008.

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4 months ago

Firstly, this year’s World Cup was long course and no SC Worlds so, other than Euros, any SC competition has been domestic level.

Secondly, this figure looks considerably more negative than it may normally be due to it following a year where SC Worlds was held in one of the major swimming nations and thus saw a greater depth in fields and a resultant higher standard of competition …… leading to the results/records we saw.

4 months ago

GOAT Caeleb Dressel set 3 in 25 hours.

Jimmy DeSnuts
Reply to  Tony
4 months ago

how is this getting downvotes. which part do you dislike? the fact that he did break 3 in 25 hours or the other fact that he’s the greatest SC swimmer of all time? My man tony is spitting straight facts and getting downvoted

4 months ago

Hackett actually set the WR in 2001 and then went faster again in 2008. So 22 years and a few months really…longer than Phelps had the 400 IM LC record.

4 months ago

I think the 2022 SC World Championships in Melbourne ‘tightened’ a lot of SC records…there was a pretty strong line up competing.

Reply to  Torchbearer
4 months ago

Yes for the relays but there were only 3 individuals and none for the men. I think short course worlds next year could improve a lot of them but I could see not many people going considering Olympics and hectic schedule.

4 months ago

Just wait until Marchand swims in a SCM meet

Reply to  Facts
4 months ago

Dude would break the 200 i.m, 400 i.m, 200 fly, 200 breast, and eventually (probably) the 200 free and 100 breast.

Reply to  Tanner
4 months ago

Think he’d have a better shot at the 100 IM than the 200 free and 100 breast

Reply to  Facts
4 months ago

No chance he touches Dressel’s 1im record

M d e
Reply to  swim2
4 months ago

No shot he touches the 100br record either.

Marc P
Reply to  Tanner
4 months ago

Marchand is not touching 200 free and 100 breast SCM WR… sorry

Boxall's Railing
Reply to  Marc P
4 months ago

200 free definitely possible when tapered. Anyone who says otherwise wasn’t watching him on the 800 free relay at NCAAs this past March.

4 months ago

Make college swimming SCM, more world records

Reply to  Khachaturian
4 months ago

Logistically it would be too difficult to do and if there was a full switch to SCM it would lead to many programs being cut. I’d love for NCAAs to go back to SCM for Olympic years, but that’s where they should leave it.

Reply to  oxyswim
4 months ago

I enjoyed when NCAA did SCM a couple times for champs

Anything but 50 BR
4 months ago

If McIntosh had gone to the World Cup, 4Im would have gone for sure. She or maybe Titmus could have taken 400 FR.

Gen D
Reply to  Anything but 50 BR
4 months ago

World Cup this year was LC. Summer McIntosh (and Katie Ledecky) were very close to the 400 free WR in the fall of 2022

The unoriginal Tim
4 months ago

If the Paris Olympics were held in SCM most of the current records would be beaten.