Russian Yulia Efimova, in a titanic battle with Denmark’s Rikke Moeller-Pedersen, has broken the World Record in the 200 Short Course Meters breaststroke at the European Short Course Championships in Herning, Denmark.
This was maybe the most anticipated final of the entire meet for the home crowd. Moeller-Pedersen is the defending long course World Champions and World Record holder, and her fans expected a big swim from her in finals. They got that, with a 2:15.21, which was better than her old Danish and European Records, but Efimova still played spoiler, with a 2:14.39.
So good was Efimova’s swim that as she inched away on the last 50 meters, she made even Moeller-Pedersen’s swim, still one of the fastest ever, pale by comparison. Pedersen had the lead halfway.
The comparative splits between Soni’s old record, Efimova’s new record, and Pedersen’s Danish record are below.
The third 50 meters were all the difference for Efimova. That pulled her ahead of World Record pace, and that pulled her ahead of Pedersen, a spot that she wouldn’t relinquish. She did run out of gas a little bit on the last 50, as compared to the hard-finishing Soni, but her front-half speed was unbelievably good, so it didn’t matter.
Efimova’s swim also broke her old Russian National Record of just 2:17.37, done at the Tokyo stop of this year’s World Cup. The Russians are now holders of 8 World Records, which ties them with China for the second-most behind the United States (and includes the men’s 200 SCM World Record, that isn’t really the best ever, from Thursday.)
Every women’s breaststroke World Record has now been broken in 2013.
A PDF of the women’s 200 breast final results can be seen here.