Which World Records Are In Danger At Short Course Worlds?


Some of the world’s best are set to compete at the 2021 Short Course World Championships over the next six days, including some current world record holders.

While the majority of the top swimmers competing have had several cracks at SCM world records over the last few months in the International Swimming League—something that wasn’t the case coming into previous SC Worlds meets—there are still several world records that could be at risk in Abu Dhabi.

Especially after the ISL Finals were moved up by a month, giving swimmers just one week to rest after the playoffs, some of them will surely have been tapering down over the last 10 days to gear up for SC Worlds and close out 2021 with a bang.

With that being said, which world records are in danger at SC Worlds?

Women’s 200 Freestyle, Siobhan Haughey (HKG)

Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey looked primed to take down Sarah Sjostrom‘s world record in the women’s 200 freestyle in the ISL Final, having recorded the second and third-fastest swims ever (1:50.65 and 1:50.66) in back-to-back matches during the playoffs.

Haughey clocked 1:51.04 in the final, with Sjostrom’s all-time mark from 2017 sitting at 1:50.43.

If Haughey has taken advantage of the brief break since the ISL Final and hits a good taper, this record is very much within her sights.

Men’s 100 Breaststroke, Ilya Shymanovich (BLR) & Nic Fink (USA)

If someone was to lower the world record in the men’s 100 breast in Abu Dhabi, Ilya Shymanovich is the obvious pick, having taken down the 100m record multiple times in the ISL.

However, Shymanovich was upset by American Nic Fink in the league final, with Fink slaughtering his American Record in 55.56. Shymanovich lowered his own record in back-to-back meets, clocking 55.32 then 55.28, in the lead-up to the final.

Less than three-tenths off, Fink certainly has a shot at the record, though the odds are in Shymanovich’s favor given his consistency.

Italian Nicolo Martinenghi beat Shymanovich in the SC Euros final in 55.63, so he’s also a factor. Emre Sakci and Arno Kamminga are two others that have broken 56 seconds who will be competing.

Men’s 50 Breaststroke, Ilya Shymanovich (BLR)

In the 50 breast, Shymanovich tied Cameron van der Burgh‘s world record from 2009 at SC Euros in 25.25. He didn’t seriously approach that time in the ISL (and lost to Fink in the final in this race as well), but he’s a threat to re-lower it if he’s on.

Men’s 50 Butterfly, Szebasztian Szabo (HUN) & Nicholas Santos (BRA)

Co-world record holders Szebasztian Szabo and Nicholas Santos will go head-to-head in the men’s 50 butterfly, with Santos coming in as the defending champion to boot.

Santos first broke the world record in October 2018 in 21.75, and Szabo matched that time last month at SC Euros in Kazan.

As to who has the best chance at the record, the advantage should go to Santos given that he went sub-22 three times in the ISL, including a blistering 21.81 in the Play-In Match. However, Szabo clearly can deliver when he’s gotten a bit of a taper, so this may be the perfect storm for him.

Men’s 100 Backstroke, Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS)

The former world record holder in the event, Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov could reclaim his 100 backstroke mark if he’s on top form in Abu Dhabi. Kolesnikov broke the record in the 2020 ISL Final in 48.58, and then American Coleman Stewart lowered that time early in the 2021 ISL season in 48.33.

Kolesnikov took on an incredibly busy schedule for Energy Standard during the ISL season, and didn’t always race the 100 back. However, in November at SC Euros he had four swims that came between 49.1 and 49.4, and while that’s still relatively far off of Stewart’s world record, it shows he can drop time quickly after some rest (if you look at his ISL times from the regular season).

Men’s 50 Backstroke, Kolesnikov

Kolesnikov is also the top seed in the 50 back, and put up the second-fastest swim ever at SC Euros in 22.47.

Florent Manaudou‘s world record of 22.22 is still an incredible quarter-second ahead of Kolesnikov’s best, but this still needs to be recognized as a threat given that Kolesnikov owns the second-fastest swim ever.

Women’s 50 Backstroke, Kira Toussaint (NED)

Kira Toussaint has already broken and then matched the world record in the women’s 50 back, clocking 25.60 in November and December of last year.

After numerous sub-26 swims in the ISL, Toussaint was forced out of the ISL Final with a non-COVID-related illness. If she’s back at her best, she has a good chance to lower this record.

Women’s 100 Butterfly, Maggie MacNeil (CAN)

The fastest woman ever in yards (and the Olympic champion), Maggie MacNeil has to be mentioned as a legitimate threat to the world record in the women’s 100 fly, set less than two weeks ago by Kelsi Dahlia in 54.59.

MacNeil owns a best of 55.30, but she’s a big-game performer that can drop time with a little bit of rest. It remains to be seen if she did taper for the meet, however, given the fact she’s in the midst of the NCAA season.

Women’s 50 Fly & 50 Free, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE) & Ranomi Kromowidjojo

Two of the fastest women ever in both events, European superstars Sarah Sjostrom and Ranomi Kromowidjojo both have legitimate shots at the world records in the women’s 50 free and 50 fly.

Kromowidjojo holds the 50 free record in 22.93, and Sjostrom hit 23.1 three times during the ISL season (and a 23.12 to win SC Euros)

In the 50 fly, Therese Alshammar has held the world record since 2009, having clocked 24.38 at a World Cup meet in Singapore.

Sjostrom won SC Euros in November in 24.50, and Kromowidjojo won the ISL’s sixth playoff match in a league-best 24.62, putting them both in the running.

Darkhorse: Daiya Seto (JPN)

Daiya Seto, the current world record holder in both the SCM 200 fly (1:48.24) and 400 IM (3:54.81), has been moving around the U.S., training in various places, and heads to Worlds with a chance to rack up some gold medals.

Seto’s best chance at a potential world record appeared to be in the 200 fly, given that he was sub-1:50 in both the ISL (1:49.41) and on the FINA World Cup (1:49.76), but he hasn’t entered the event.

The 400 IM record looks to be a bit of a longshot, given that his best swim in 2021 is three seconds off the mark (3:57.85 to 3:54.81), but he’s only a second off in the 200 IM, so there’s a chance he challenges that. Ryan Lochte‘s record from 2012 sits at 1:49.63, and Seto was 1:50.66 at the Kazan stop of the World Cup in November.

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6 months ago

I actually don’t think that many individual world records are going down on the men’s side

50/100 Free: Dressel’s 50 record is ridiculous, and no Chalmers in the 100
200/400 Free: These are just ridiculous, peak Rapsys was close to the 400 but he’s not there right now
50 Back: This Manaudou record is nuts, and it’s already crazy that KK is within .25
100 Back: Doesn’t seem like KK’s on his 48.5 form, let alone breaking 48.3
200 Back: Nobody’s touching this one from Larkin in his prime
50/100 Breast: While they’re within reach for Shymanovich, he doesn’t seem to perform that great when he’s expected to put up big times (choked Olympics coming… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by 25Backstroke
Pacific Whirl
6 months ago

Kirpichinikova’s 1500 is missing.

Reply to  Pacific Whirl
6 months ago

Unfortunately the is no 1500FR for women in the event line-up.

Stewart 100 back gold in Fukuoka
6 months ago

Surprised men’s 1500 was not mentioned. Wellbrock already came very close at the European Championships.

6 months ago

We could have a “WRs bonanza” northeless plenty of absences and the long Olympic year (and 2022 will be even more crowded of events), because swimming is getting faster and faster, especially in SC. I’m interested to watch in the 400 free how much the 15 year-old McIntosh will near Titmus’ WR, and Kamminga (who certainly isn’t a SC specialist) Prigoda’s 200 breaststroke WR (and the 2 minutes barrier). I already wrote about the 1500 free with Greg, Romanchuk and Wellbrock, and my curiosity about Zhang Yufei in the 200 fly (she may dip under 2′). In the 50s the lone WR surely safe is Dressel’s 50 free.

Mister 17.6 no fins
Reply to  nuotofan
6 months ago

Dressel is an animal. His records are safe for decades.

Usain Bolt and Caeleb Remel Dressel are the most genetically gifted sprinters, that have ever touched the planet earth.

Reply to  Mister 17.6 no fins
6 months ago

Bolt yes but unfortunately not Dressel eventually someone will be able to put together Dressel’s start with the swimming speed of some of these other guys.

Reply to  Hodbsosn
6 months ago

You say that like he doesn’t have elite swimming speed?

Reply to  NCAA>ISL
6 months ago

He does have elite swimming speed but without his start he’s probably a 21.6 which is fast but we’re talking about the greatest sprinter to touch the planet and comparing him to Bolt. I’m not sure if you remember 2008 but Bolt jogged the last half of a 9 second race and broke the world record. The closest thing we have to him in swimming now is Peaty not Dressel. Dressel will go down as one of the greatest but he will be beaten.

Reply to  Hodbsosn
6 months ago

Your saying, Someone, someday… will put dressel’s start with other guys speed. and be better than CD. by that standard, someone, someday, will be just as tall, just as fast as Bolt in the back half, but have the start of Justin Gatlin, or Tyson gay?

Bolt was a weak starter, he knew it. everyone knew it. Phelps was a slower first 50 in the 100 fly. He knew it, everyone knew it. Dressel isn’t the absolutely fastest man in the water, we saw it at the olympics being caught in the 100 free by Chalmers. But that still does not take away from his greatness.

Reply to  Hodbsosn
6 months ago

So who’s breaking his 17.6 ? LOL 😂

And he got the best top end speed in the 50 after his start. Only a peak Ben Proud can challenge him.

Reply to  Swimfan
6 months ago

He’s got the most velocity off the start so his top end is going to be faster but he doesn’t pull away from anyone if anything he gets caught. 17.6 is godly Dressel is built for it that record will last at least 10 years.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Swimfan
6 months ago

95% of the world does not know what a yard is , so I presume the likely record breaker will be in that 5%.that do. You may have to narrow that down but its a start.

Last edited 6 months ago by Corn Pop
Reply to  Swimfan
6 months ago

I think Dressel’s SC records in 50m free, 100m fly and 100m IM, will be safe for a long time. If anything, Dressel will break the 100m free SC record within the next year, two at most.

Reply to  Hodbsosn
6 months ago

Bolt’s 2008’s 100m dash still really peeves me. If he didn’t slow to celebrate, I think the WR could be 9.50 right now. That was the best start and 60m he ever had.

Reply to  HJones
6 months ago

Wrong race btw… 2009 is that 9.58. in 08 when he pulled up and celebrated it was 9.6something.

edit, he didnt celebrate in 09

Last edited 6 months ago by mcmflyguy
Reply to  Mister 17.6 no fins
6 months ago

Should be swimswam.us geez you yanks are full of it 😳 he’s not even close to holding records for decades. And yards who gives a sh*t, no one except the us that’s who

6 months ago

Don’t think Seto can really beat lochte’s 1’49

Big Mac #1
Reply to  Vitto0113
6 months ago

Hence “dark horse”

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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