Last weekend at the 2022 Winter Junior Championships – West meet, 16-year-old Maximus Williamson clocked 3:39.83 in the 400 IM to erase Michael Phelps’ final SCY National Age Group record.
All across the country, there has always been a generation of age groupers who are compared to or referred to as “mini Phelps”, as the stars of their local communities. Where I grew up, it was Yezan Alsader, who broke the Nick Caldwell’s’ 11-12 NAG in the 400 IM back in 2013. But the story goes the same wherever it is–beating a Phelps record has the potential to launch a career. It did so for Carson Foster, when he was just 10 years old.
But inevitably, all of those records will fall, because each generation gets a little better, a little bigger, and a little more athletic. All sports are fleeting in that way, with new stars constantly emerging and elbowing their way to the front of the line.
Just because Phelps’ name is gone from the short course National Age Group record book, does not mean that he has nothing remaining. Phelps still has a handful of long course NAGs that have yet to be broken, as well as a few American records, and one World record. Let’s take a look at what Phelps still has standing.
Long Course National Age Group Records:
- Boy’s 13-14:
- 200 fly – 1:59.02
- 400 IM – 4:24.77
- Boy’s 15-16:
- 200 fly – 1:54.58
- Boy’s 17-18:
- 100 fly – 51.10
- 200 IM – 1:55.94
- 400 IM – 4:09.09
- 200 free – 1:45.99
American Records (LCM):
- 200 free – 1:42.96
- 200 fly – 1:51.51
- 400 IM – 4:03.84
World Records (LCM):
- 400 IM – 4:03.84
Phelps will continue to hold various pool and meet records around the country for another few decades still (some of Mel Stewart’s records are only now being broken, and he’s really old). But sooner than that, all of the *big ones* will be gone, and we can start to count the years that some of the smaller ones have stood. And that’s good for the sport. The beat marches on, always forward.
I still remember that week in Beijing. Every moment was incredible and everyone was watching and talking about it. He changed the sport that week in a way we aren’t likely to ever see again.
will still be the goat for a very long time I presume.
23 Olympic Gold, 28 Olympic medals, 39 LC WRs, 8 gold medals (8 races) in a single olympics, 7 WR in one Olympics (tied Spitz), WR at age 15 (males far less likely than females at that age), changed the entire sport of swimming…..
Are generations really getting a little better, a little bigger, and a little more athletic? Or are methods of training, analyzing, and technology improving it all as well? What about nutrition and strength training for younger and younger swimmers?
of course. We’re learning new ways to train, eat, strengthen our bodies every day.
Phelps has a shot at breaking another record this June I believe if Marchand doesn’t get to his 400IM mark until the summer. That would be longest holding of an individual world record in history. He first broke the 4IM in 2001 so this spring 21 years in his name! Can’t recall who he would pass, I think swimswam did an article on this few months ago?
You know you’re a big deal when there are records about your records.
Indeed. It’s all very meta.
What’s the longest that someone has held the record for having the longest-held record?
I believe you’re asking for the 2nd derivative, Future-Dr. “Livestream” Andy Hardt?
Let me consult with the most qualified person I know to answer that question: Future-Dr. “Livestream” Andy Hardt.
Sad Ian Thorpe noises
Textile LCM record since 1999 for Thorpe. Hackett has the 800 SCM since 2001 as well.
thorpe is a fighting word in these comments
MP didn’t break 400 IM record until the 2002 LC Nationals (8/15/2002). He’ll hit 21 years 8/15/2023. Mary T Meagher owned 200 fly record from July 7, 1979, to May 17, 2000, just under 21 years so hers might be longest, at least in modern times.
Janet Evans too – 800 free – March 22, 1988, to August 16, 2008 – just over 20 years.
I remember that race and MP had his hands full with Erik Vendt and he was behind going into the last 50 and they both broke the WR that was held at the time by Tom Dolan and he was on the deck in Fort Lauderdale and watched his record go down by both swimmers. Phelps won by .28 seconds and went a time of 4:11.09 to Vendt’s 4:11.27. Tom Dolan’s record at that time was 4:11.76.
AND, if I recall, the Ft. Lauderdale pool is not known as a fast pool. Mary T clobbered the WR there in 1979 – she had record at 2:09.77 going into the meet, then went 2:08.41 in prelims before her 2:07.01 in finals.
So if Phelps lasts until end of June he then “breaks the record”…🚨
I believe so, based on what I looked up –
American/World records are also Club Wolverine club records.
I swam right next to Yezan Alsader when he broke the 11-12 400 IM LCM NAG for the first time. It was quite the experience getting beat by over 30 seconds. I was a AAA/AAAA swimmer at the time too.
While the 200 Free records are something notable, Phelps’ 17-18 IM records really are on another level, sub 1:56 200IM for a teenager is genuinely bonkers.
Whoever breaks those records would likely have the talent to take down his 200 Free and Fly as well
Especially when FINA/World Aquatics operates in a way so the World Junior Record is 1:56.99 (Hubert Kos, Hungary).
The NAG by Phelps is faster, but doesn’t get “officialness” from FINA/WA. This is doubly odd in that when Phelps did the 1:55.94 it had enough “officialness” to be recognized as the World Record, but was not recognized when FINA decided to have World Junior Records. That 2003 1:55.94 by MP lasted over 3 years as the World Record, till Michael went 1:55.84 in 2006.
Imo Williamson has a solid shot at the free and medley records, he’s got till September of 2025 to drop 3.1 seconds(1.59.01) on the 200 IM and 2.3 seconds on the 200 free (1.48.22).
The fly records will likely be beaten by Heilman, the only one I’m not too sure about is the 15-16 NAG in the 200 fly.