‘True’ World Junior Records In Swimming As of August 2019

Coming out of the 2019 World Junior Championships, FINA’s World Junior records have been a hot topic of conversation, especially the fact that they don’t always reflect the fastest junior swim in history.

When FINA started tracking world junior records in 2014, previous swims were not retroactively awarded world junior record status. That had much to do with FINA’s policy of only ratifying world junior records if the swim had been properly verified – the pool checked for legal distance and the swimmer drug tested after the swim.

Swimming fans have noted plenty of pre-2013 swims by juniors that are actually faster than the standing world junior records. More and more of those marks have started to fall, but a few still remain. What follows is our best attempt at putting together ‘true’ world junior records – or the fastest swims our research could dig up by athletes who fit the WJR age brackets:

  • For girls: age 14-17 as of Dec. 31 in the year of the swim
  • For boys: age 15-18 as of Dec. 31 in the year of the swim

FINA tracks its juniors ages by birth year – that means if a boy turns 19 in December, his swims that year are not eligible for world junior record status, even if they are technically done while he is still 18. Same goes for a girl turning 18 at some point after her swim, but before the start of the next year.

It’s possible we’ve missed some in here – if that’s the case, please let us know in the comment section, and we’ll do our best to update these records to get the most comprehensive list possible. In some cases, national age records do not qualify, though, given FINA’s way of calculating ages compared to some federations.

You can see the official world junior records here, for boys and girls.

‘True’ World Junior Records, Long Course Meters

*Swims in bold are current official world junior records.


Swimmer Nation Time Year
50 free Cate Campbell Australia 23.99 2009
100 free Penny Oleksiak Canada 52.70 2016
200 free Missy Franklin USA 1:55.06 2011
400 free Katie Ledecky USA 3:58.37 2014
800 free Katie Ledecky USA 8:11.00 2014
1500 free Katie Ledecky USA 15:28.36 2014
50 back Fu Yuanhui China 27.22 2013
100 back Regan Smith USA 57.57 2019
200 back Regan Smith USA 2:03.35 2019
50 breast Ruta Meilutyte Lithuania 29.48 2013
100 breast Ruta Meilutyte Lithuania 1:04.35 2013
200 breast Viktoria Zeynep Gunes Turkey 2:19.64 2015
50 fly Rikako Ikee Japan 25.46 2017
100 fly Sarah Sjostrom Sweden 56.06 2009
200 fly Jiao Liuyang China 2:04.72 2008
200 IM Ye Shiwen China 2:07.57 2012
400 IM Ye Shiwen China 4:28.43 2012


Swimmer Nation Time Year
50 free Michael Andrew USA 21.75 2017
100 free Kyle Chalmers Australia 47.58 2016
200 free Danila Izotov Russia 1:43.90 2009
400 free Ian Thorpe Australia 3:40.59 2000
800 free Mack Horton Australia 7:45.67 2013
1500 free Franko Grgic Croatia 14:46.09 2019
50 back Kliment Kolesnikov Russia 24.00 2018
100 back Kliment Kolesnikov Russia 52.53 2018
200 back Ryosuke Irie Japan 1:54.77 2008
50 breast Nicolo Martinenghi Italy 26.97 2017
100 breast Nicolo Martinenghi Italy 59.01 2017
200 breast Akihiro Yamaguchi Japan 2:07.01 2012
50 fly Michael Andrew USA 23.22 2017
100 fly Kristof Milak Hungary 50.62 2017
200 fly Kristof Milak Hungary 1:52.71 2018
200 IM Michael Phelps USA 1:55.94 2003
400 IM Kosuke Hagino Japan 4:08.94 2012

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1 year ago

Grgic 14:46.09

1 year ago


1500m – Grgic 14.46.09 (2019)
200m breast – Yamaguchi 2.07.01 (2012)
400 IM – Hagino 4.08.94 (2012)


200m free – Franklin 1.55.06 (2011)
100m fly – Sjöström 56.06 (2009)

1 year ago

Thanks Swimswam for taking the initiative. Franko Grigic’ 14.46.09 (at 16) is better than Sun Yang 14.46.84 (at 18 and with poly suits).

Reply to  nuotofan
1 year ago

Sun’s time was done in a Nike Legskin with a 2 footed start FWIW

Reply to  DRUKSTOP
1 year ago

14.46.84 was his time, bronze medal-worthy, at Worlds2009. I think he was poly-suited like every other swimmer in that race (only difference in those Worlds, a few, like Zhang Lin or Phelps and Lochte, used the “old” Lzr 50% poly-suit, the vast majority the new 100% poly suits).

Reply to  nuotofan
1 year ago

No one complain when Phelps used lzr at 2008 olympics and a lot of athletes used a normal arena.

bear drinks beer
Reply to  nuotofan
1 year ago

Sun (born in December) was actually 17 at 09 Worlds, and he was still 18 when he went 14:35 at 2010 Asian Games, but he was not considered a junior by fina rules at that time.

1 year ago

Ian Thorpe back in 2000


Brian M
Reply to  Charge
1 year ago

IKR? To whomever is the Scottish coach that swears you get no propulsion from the kick, you obviously never saw Thorpey swim from the pool deck.

1 year ago

Can we say if these athletes were drug-tested after their achievements? That’s the modern and appropriate standard. Without that assurance, hard to take this too seriously.

Reply to  Nick
1 year ago

Most of these swims came at major international races where the athletes were on the podium and subject to testing anyways. Way easier to take this seriously than FINA’s WJRs that don’t count swims that happened before they were keeping track

Reply to  Nick
1 year ago

Well given that all but 3 of these pre-2014 records were swum at the Olympics or World Championships, I’d say it’s extremely likely that they were thoroughly tested. There are 3 pre-2014 swims there that were not – Phelps’s 200 IM swum at the 2003 US National Championships, Yamaguchi’s 200 breast swum at the 2012 National Sports Festival of Japan, and Fu’s 50 back (I don’t know the meet for this one). As Phelps’s and Yamaguchi’s swims were both ratified world records, I can assure you that they were thoroughly tested. Fu’s is the only one I’m not totally sure of.

Reply to  N P
1 year ago

“Zhao’s teammate Fu Yuanhui finished second in a time of 27.39, being caught by her teammate despite bringing in a huge edge out of the semi-finals. This came up shy of her season’s best of 27.22 that she posted at the Chinese Nationals.” (https://swimswam.com/2013-fina-world-championships-day-5-finals-real-time-recaps/)

Bo Swims
Reply to  Nick
1 year ago

Thorpe would have been tested for his 400 since it was the WR at the time. Any overall WR (current in 2014 or past) properly ratified done by a Jr aged swimmer should have been accepted as the WJR when they created this.

Samuel Huntington
1 year ago

Boys 200 and 400 free seem like the hardest to break, considering nobody is going those times now.

And of course in the future, Ledecky’s records and probably Shiwen’s will be very difficult to break.

Reply to  Samuel Huntington
1 year ago

Well the men’s 400 is #5 swim all time. Not sure about closest junior since FINA site won’t let me add an age filter for some reason, but Thorpe was incredible

1 year ago

None of the official WJRs are showing up as bold here.

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Some names are bold and some names are not, in both Chrome and Edge for me. Doesn’t seem to be much rhyme or reason as to why or why not.

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

show up with Firefox

1 year ago

SwimSwam u guys r awesome. I am stoked to finally see these ‘real’ recorded.

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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