Tom Shields became the first American man to ever dip under 1:50 in the short course version of the men’s 200m butterfly with a very strong 1:49.05 performance at the Duel in the Pool.
As the undisputed Duel butterfly champion, Shields went out strong against Viktor Bromer, Tyler Clary. and David Verraszto.
Using his underwater prowess to his advantage, Shields led by about a body-length after the first 50 meters, turning in 24.33. At the 100 wall he managed to extend his lead further, pushing the pace as he turned in 52.78 with 100 meters to go.
Shields out-split the field on the third 50 as well, churning in a 28.28 way ahead of second place competitor Bromer. With 50 to go, Shields left it all in the pool throwing down a very impressive 27.99 last 50 split. To put things in perspective as to how dominant Shields was, Bromer was the only other swimmer to crack 30 seconds on the last 50 with a 29,98.
Shields’ 1:49.05 makes him the third fastest performer of all time in the event behind only South Africa’s Chad Le Clos and Japan’s Daiya Seto.
The swim itself is the sixth fastest performance ever recorded in the race and ranks him second in the world this year only to Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh.