Watch Japan’s Ippei Watanabe Crush 2:06.67 200 Breast World Record

While competing at the 2017 Kosuke Kitajima Cup, 19-year-old Japanese swimmer Ippei Watanabe cranked out a shiny new World Record in the men’s long course meters 200 breaststroke. Firing off a monster 2:06.67 at the Tatsumi International Swim Centre tonight on Tokyo, Watanabe became the first man ever to score a sub-2:07 200 breast, easily overtaking the previous world record mark by .34 seconds.

The elusive 200 breast World Record was previously held by countryman Akihiro Yamaguchi with the 2:07.01 he set in 2012. Although Yamaguchi has been silent ever since, Watanabe has quietly and steadily been on the rise, having broken the World Junior Record in this event back in May 2015. Although it’s since been overtaken by Russia’s Anton Chupkov, Watanabe’s junior mark of 2:09.75 from just less than 2 years ago gives an eye-opening view of this young man’s progression in the event.

Split Comparison

Yamaguchi – 1:01.72/1:05.29 = 2:07.01
Watanabe – 1:01.33/1:05.34 = 2:06.67 (28.95/ 32.38/ 32.69/ 32.65)

Watanabe made a run at an Olympic gold medal in the 200 breast, heading into the Rio final with a newly-minted Olympic Record of 2:07.22 in the semi-finals. Unable to replicate that caliber of performance, the teen ultimately finished in 6th place overall in a slower 2:07.87.

However, with tonight’s performance, Watanabe may have just foreshadowed a thrilling breaststroke performance that may be in store come the 2020 Olympic Games when the then-23-year-old may be performing in front of a home crowd.

Posted by Kosuke Kitajima Official Site on Saturday, January 28, 2017

Men’s 200 Breaststroke – All-time

  1. Ippei Watanabe, JPN (2017) – 2:06.67
  2. Akihiro Yamaguchi, JPN (2012) – 2:07.01
  3. Josh Prenot, USA (2016) – 2:07.17
  4. Daniel Gyurta, HUN (2013) – 2:07.23
  5. Ross Murdoch, GBR (2014) – 2:07.30

Video courtesy of Alex Pussieldi/YouTube.

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Swimmer A

It’s an interesting stroke. He doesn’t come too high out of the water, but he’s able to carry that motion into this absurdly long glide. And his kick almost seems like it’s delayed, it comes at the very last possible moment. No wasted motion whatsoever and there isn’t a dramatic acceleration and deceleration between the pull and kick. Just kind of keeps at a constant speed through out his stroke. I get what he’s doing, but I honestly have no clue how to replicate it myself.


But he got like so little resistance he should be banned .It is simply not fair . Those skinny legs – how are we supposed to get those?

Coach Mike 1952

This is sardonic humor, folks.

Coach Mike 1952

His kick & glide are indeed uncommonly amazing. Splits are wonderfully even, with no wasted motion indeed. Poetry in action.

Science Geek

Yeah, cool splits

Joel Lin

I’ve always thought the most naturally gifted technician in breaststroke was Ed Moses.

Until now.


Glad to see my country continuing its streak of dominance. Tora tora tora!

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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