What Cities Do World Records Tend To Be Set In?

In swimming, there are pools that are known to be “fast” and pools that are known to be “slow”. The Forco Italico pool in Rome, Italy is one of them—it’s the place where 43 world records were set during the 2009 World Championships. In fact, the last two men’s 100 freestyle world records were both set in that pool, with Cesar Cielo breaking the record in 2009 and David Popovici doing it again yesterday in the same place. This leads us to the question, where are world records most often set?

“DataDrivenMed” on Twitter has that question answered for us, as they provided graph charts on the cities where the most world records were set.

As you can see, 88 world records were broken in Sydney, Australia, which is the most out of any city. The city was the host of multiple international competitions, such as the 2000 Olympic Games and the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships. From those two competitions alone, a total of 21 world records were set. In addition, several world records broken in Sydney were done at the New South Wales Championships and several Australian Olympic trials held in the city. However, the only world record currently standing that was set in Sydney is Mitch Larkin‘s short course 200 back record.

Budapest, Hungary is only ranked #14 on the top 25 list, but it is the city where the most current world records were broken. Fifteen standing world records (men’s LC 100 back, men’s LC 50 breast, men’s LC 200 fly, women’s LC 50 free, women’s LC 100 free, women’s LC 50 breast, women’s LC 100 breast, mixed LC 4×100 free relay, men’s SC 50 free, men’s SC 50 fly, men’s SC 100 fly, men’s SC 100 IM, women’s SC 100 back, women’s SC 50 breast, women’s SC 4×100 medley relay) were all set in Budapest.

The city where the most world records were broken also varies for gender and stroke, as Sydney has the most women’s world records but Los Angeles has the most men’s world records. And while Los Angeles has the most breaststroke and butterfly world records, Tokyo has the most backstroke world records and Sydney has the most freestyle world records. In fact, 66 out of the 88 world records set in Sydney were freestyle world records, with Australia’s freestyle prowess being largely what’s responsible for this.

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Jamesabc
1 month ago

If you exclude the 2009 world champs (which you probably should for obvious reasons) then Rome tumbles from near the top to off the list completely. Rome and Beijing are obviously majorly inflated because of super suits, but I wonder how many other cities have significant supersuit inflation?

Goag
1 month ago

How is Gwangju not on the butterfly list, when both the men’s 100 and 200 fly WR was broken there? There are other cities on the list with just one WR.

Joel
Reply to  Goag
1 month ago

And Adelaide for backstroke and breastroke has had at least one

torchbearer
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

My local Adelaide pool has one current record for Back, free and breast…

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  Goag
1 month ago

Yeah, there’s quite a few missing here. Orlando had quite a few just from Janet Evans’s swims back in the 80s

David
1 month ago

New Haven? I grew up swimming in CT and there is no competition LC or SCM pools that I know of. Please expand if you know details.
Yale has a 5 lane LC training pool at Payne Whitney on the 3rd or 4th floor but that’s about it.
The history of SC records at the Yale pool would be cool to learn about. I believe it was called AAU Indoor Nationals was held there many years up until the 60s.

Admin
Reply to  David
1 month ago

The records were mostly set in the 1930s and 1940s there. One was even broken at an intrasquad time trial.

I couldn’t really find much detail about the pool at the time…but there must have been a different 50 meter pool on campus somewhere. The Carnegie Pool, the team’s original pool, was demolished when the Kiputh pool was build in 1932.

maximum mchuge
Reply to  David
1 month ago

WRs have been set there in the LC 200 breast 7 times: Lionel Spence (1931), Jack Kasley (1936), and Joe Verdure (he broke it 7x with 5x in new haven: 1947, 3×1948, 1950).

Here is a tidbit from Wikipedia:
“The world record for the 200 meter breaststroke prior the bifurcation of the butterfly breaststroke into separate strokes in 1953 could be accomplished in either short or long course pools. FINA recognized only one world record for the 200 meter breaststroke. Thus, when Alfred Nakache set the world record for the 200 meter breaststroke in 1941 in an outdoor long course pool, it was broken by Joe Verdeur in a short course pool. If records were measured as they… Read more »

Last edited 1 month ago by maximum mchuge
Brownish
Reply to  maximum mchuge
1 month ago

100free 6 times (1934-1954) Peter Fick 3 times, Alan Ford 2 times and Dick Cleveland once.

Last edited 1 month ago by Brownish
CraigH
1 month ago

Los Altos?! I’m assuming there must be another one than the small suburb of the Bay Area.

BearlyBreathing
Reply to  CraigH
1 month ago

This perplexed me too. Los Altos?

Admin
Reply to  CraigH
1 month ago

Lots of big meets used to be there in the early 1960s, specifically the 1964 AAU National Championships, where a lot of World Records went down.

The alpha dog
1 month ago

It’s always easier with australia’s 49,5 meter pools

John
Reply to  The alpha dog
1 month ago

You’re gonna dehydrate yourself with all that salt, easy champ!

Troyy
Reply to  John
1 month ago

It’s a joke

Jamesabc
Reply to  The alpha dog
1 month ago

Even more impressive that Emma swam faster in Tokyo than Australia considering the pool there was longer

Robbos
Reply to  The alpha dog
1 month ago

Freestyle, it used to be called Australian Crawl, hence why we so good at it.

David Berkoff
1 month ago

Hah! I still have 2/3 of the Austin World Records in
Backstroke—the only stroke that matters!! I presume the master—King Aaron has the other.

Last edited 1 month ago by David Berkoff
theloniuspunk
Reply to  David Berkoff
1 month ago

My man!

Fly 100
1 month ago

Not so much the city but my top 3 pools if you want to break a wr LCM …Rome, Austin, and Clovis. The “Foro” is a special racing venue.

Bevo
1 month ago

The great Los Angeles Coliseum Pool for the ’32 games and many LA Invitationals being held just weeks before nationals along with the McDonald’s ’84 Games pool, now the Peter Daland pool, give the great climate and deep pools there some of the best venues ever.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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