Which Female Swimmer Has the Fastest 4-Stroke 800 Meter IM Add-Up?

Canadian teen Summer McIntosh swam new lifetime bests in both the 200 meter backstroke and 200 meter breaststroke last week at the U.S. Open Championships. On top of a 1:54 in a 4×200 free relay leadoff and a gold medal in the 200 fly at last summer’s World Championships, that got some readers thinking: which swimmer in history has the best 200-meters-per-stroke add-up time?

The obvious and instant thought is, of course, legendary Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu. Hosszu, at her peak, swam, and won, almost every event on the schedule with regularity, and that was especially true in races 200-meters-and-longer.

Also high on the list, and one of the few that have a better “add up” than McIntosh, is China’s Ye Shiwen. While her 400 IM swim was never ratified as a World Junior Record, in spite of being age eligible, because it was swum before FINA began recognizing World Junior Records, it remains the fastest all-time junior swim in the event. While three of her four 200s are not up to the standard of McIntosh and Hosszu, she is among the rare 400 IMers who are truly world-class 200 breaststrokers as well. Abbie Wood is the only swimmer on the list with a faster 200 breaststroke (2:21.69); only a few others are even as close at 2:25s.

Unsurprisingly, the list looks a lot like the ‘best 400 IMers of all-time’ list. That’s both a natural connection and a self-fulfilling correlation: swimmers who are good at the 400 IM tend to be good at swimming 200 yards and at swimming all four strokes, and swimmers who are good at the 400 IM regularly swim 200-meter stroke races as training events.

Regularly swimming all of the requisite events, at either full taper meets, mid-season rest meets, nationals rolling into World Championships, and other such affairs, is often a limiting factor in these lists. For some of the best 400 IMers in history, like Stephanie Rice, we couldn’t find times for long course 200s of all strokes.

Collator’s notes: this is probably pretty close to the list. I feel very confident about the top 10 or 12. My confidence level fell off dramatically after #20, hence the truncation. There are also particular challenges to getting best times for Asian swimmers, especially Chinese swimmers. If you’ve got any additions, please let us know.

Hat tip to reader Dee for catching Aimee Willmott’s absence from the initial list. She has been added as #12. Also spotted Lara Grangeon, who has been added. Reader swimswamswum found Ella Eastin, who has also been added. Yana Klochkova and Madisyn Cox have also been added.

Top 19 Ranking (in seconds)

Rank Swimmer back breast fly free
1 Hosszu, Katinka 125.85 149.00 124.27 115.41 514.53
2 Ye, Shiwen 129.12 142.53 128.72 117.17 517.54
3 McIntosh, Summer 127.15 150.85 125.20 114.79 517.99
4 Ohashi, Yui 130.39 146.30 127.03 117.97 521.69
5 Belmonte, Mireia 134.37 147.00 124.78 117.58 523.73
6 Hoff, Katie 129.95 148.81 129.81 115.78 524.35
7 Miley, Hannah L. 132.66 145.40 128.24 118.54 524.84
8 Harvey, Mary-Sophie 130.60 145.37 131.68 117.81 525.46
9 Kukors, Ariana J. 133.34 147.26 130.19 116.05 526.84
10 Beisel, Elizabeth L. 126.18 151.29 130.72 118.66 526.85
11 Jakabos, Zsuzsanna 131.53 153.27 126.35 117.68 528.83
12 Willmott, Aimee 132.20 148.38 127.97 120.96 529.51
13 Verraszto, Evelyn 130.45 155.81 128.33 116.51 531.10
14 Grangeon, Lara 135.06 148.34 127.87 120.54 531.81
14 Cox, Madisyn 132.86 143.84 139.34 117.38 533.42
15 Lesaffre, Fantine 132.17 146.48 133.33 122.01 533.99
16 Wood, Abbie 140.32 141.69 134.66 117.48 534.15
17 Leverenz, Caitlin A. 136.49 145.62 130.60 121.69 534.40
18 Flickinger, Hali A. 128.36 163.14 125.65 117.53 534.68
19 Klochkova, Yana 135.07 151.20 129.52 119.03 534.82

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1 month ago

I find it hard to believe that Alex Walsh isn’t already in the Top 5 on this list; no records of her 200M times in one of the strokes?

eye guy
1 month ago

Can we have this article but for 100 add ups? It would probably still be Hosszu, but it would be very interesting.
On the men’s side for the 200s, it’s surely Phelps on top by a mile 1:51, 1:54, 2:11, 1:42.

PK Doesn’t Like His Long Name
2 months ago

Pickrem being 5:50ish with a 2:39
200 fly has a slight room for improvement. 119+131+142+159.

2 months ago

Not one Australian on the listing

Reply to  Boz
2 months ago

4TH is Kaylee MCKEOWN 521.65 ,,,,wasn’t too hard to look up.

Reply to  G L
2 months ago

what’s Kaylee’s PB in the 200 fly?

2 months ago

A few of these benefited from supersuits. H Flickenger a true powerhouse

Reply to  Owlmando
2 months ago

It’s a hypotetical question.
Hali: 2:05.65, 2:08.72, 2:43.17, 1:57.53 (swimrankings)

2 months ago

What about doing a hypothetical 4×200 medley relay just for each major international meet (only doing best times for each stroke based on that meet Only)

Reply to  Swimfan
2 months ago

From the 2022 WC:
Australia has a combined 510.35, USA has 510.51, Canada is at 513.86, and China is at 516.44. These are all flat start bests, but if 200 free relay splits are included, USA jumps to first with 507.28, Aus is in second with the same time, Canada is at 511.85, and China is at 515.7. If you include the CW games with relay splits, Australia stays in second with a 507.95 while Canada shaves a fifth off their time with a slightly faster 200 back.

From 2021 Olympics:
USA is in first with 506.82, AUS is at 509.89, and China is at 510.3. Canada notably didn’t have a 200 fly swim but would’ve needed… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by jeff
2 months ago

Katinka on the Mt Rushmore of female swimmers

eye guy
Reply to  Meathead
1 month ago

Ledecky, Hosszu, de Bruijn, Klochkova

2 months ago

Melanie Margalis?

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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