200m backstroke world record

200m Backstroke World Record

The 200m backstroke world record is monitored and ratified by FINA, the world governing body for the sport of competitive swimming, as well as other aquatic disciplines. The 200 meter backstroke is competed at the Olympics, as well as various 2nd-tier aquatic competitions such as the FINA World Championships, Commoonwealth Games, Pan Pacific Championships, European Championships, and so on.

Backstroke is unique in that it is the only stroke of four in competitive swimming to be performed on the athlete’s backside, unlike the crawl which is done on the athlete’s front, facing the bottom of the pool. It is also the first event to be competed at the Olympic level which wasn’t crawl (freestyle).

MEN’S 200m BACKSTROKE WORLD RECORDS

One of the oldest Olympic events, it was first done at the Games in Paris during August of 1900. The winner was Ernst Hoppenberg of Germany in a time of 2:47, a full 8 seconds faster than silver medalist Karl Ruberl of Austria.

The first WR on record is East Germany’s Roland Matthes, who swam a 2:02.82 at the Munich Games in 1972 to win gold. Four years later John Naber of the United States would be the first to break the two minute barrier in this event, swimming a 1:59.19 at the Montreal Games in 1976. That time would stand up for 7 years before Rick Carey would shave a few more tenths off at the Olympic Trials for the US in 1984.

After the record was held by the Soviet Union’s Sergei Zabolotnov and Igo Polyansky, Spanish backstroke legend Martin Lopez-Zubero would lower the mark twice in 1991, swimming a 1:57.30 and 1:56.57. Another 8 years would pass before American domination would ensue, with Lenny Krayzelburg, Aaron Piersol, and Ryan Lochte all taking swipes at the WR. Piersol in particular would put his stamp on it 7 different times, being the only swimmer ever to break 1:52 in the event.

Piersol’s time of 1:51.92, swum in 2009 at the FINA World Championships is the current world record for men in long course meters.

On the short course side of things, many of the same names make appearances. Lopez-Zubero is the first name on record, with a 1:52.51 done in 1991. Piersonl, Lochte and Krayzelburg all appear in the list of swimmers to break the WR, with Lochte in particular being the first to cross the 1:50 barrier when he swam a 1:49.05 in Shanghai in 2009.

Since then, however, swimmers Markus Rogan of Austria, George Du Rand of South Africa, and ultimately Arkady Vyatchanin of Russia would all take turns at it, with Vyatchanin’s time of 1:46.11 done at the Berlin stop on the FINA World Cup circuit standing up as the current WR in short course meters.

WOMEN’S 200m BACKSTROKE WORLD RECORDS

The 200m backstroke was swum for the first time on the ladies side in 1968 at the Mexico Games. It was a North American affair on the medal podium, with Lillian Watson (USA) winning in 2:24.88, Elaine Tanner (CAN) in second, and Kaye Hall (USA) placing third.

Although not competed at the Games until ’68, the WR mark goes back as far as 1957, with Phillipa Gould of New Zealand being the first name on record in a time of 2:39.9. Satoko Tanaka of Japan would firmly put her name all over the WR starting from 1959 until 1963, during which time she would lower her own world record 10 times, ultimately to 2:28.2.

Predictably during the 1970’s a rash of East German swimmers including Ulrike Richter (who features prominently in the list of women 100m backstroke world record breakers), Birgit Treiber, Antje Stille, Rica Rienisch and Cornelia Sirch each breaking the WR. Sirch, in particular, would be the first woman to break 2:10 when she did so at the FINA World Championships in August of 1982 in Ecuador.

Hungarian backstroke sensation Krisztina Egerszegi, who would dominate both backstroke events for an extended period of time in the 1990’s, would destroy the WR in 1991 swimming a 2:06.62 (by nearly two full seconds), a time that would last for 17 years.

Currently Missy Franklin of the United States of America has the world record for this event, in a time of 2:04.06 that she swam at the London Olympics in 2012.

Franklin is also the current world record holder in the short course meters edition of this race. She swam 2:00.03, breaking Japan’s Shiho Sakai’s two-year-old mark of 2:00.18 at the Berlin stop on the FINA World Cup Circuit in 2009.

SEE ALSO:

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy

Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.
Olivier is the author of the books YourSwimBook and Conquer the Pool. He writes all things high-performance swimming and is passionate about helping swimmers, swim coaches, and swim parents  master the pool. His articles were read over 4 million times last year and his work has                                  appeared on USA Swimming, SwimSwam, STACK, NBC Universal, and more. He’s also                                    kinda tall and can be found hitting noon-hour lap swims. You can learn more about                                       Olivier here.

Olivier Poirier-Leroy Olivier Poirier-Leroy is the founder of YourSwimLog.com. He is an author, former national level swimmer, two-time Olympic Trials qualifier, and swim coach.

Olivier is the author of the books YourSwimBook and Conquer the Pool. He writes all things high-performance swimming and is passionate about helping swimmers, swim coaches, and swim parents master the pool.

His articles were read over 4 million times last year and his work has appeared on USA Swimming, SwimSwam, STACK, NBC Universal, and more.

He’s also kinda tall and can be found hitting noon-hour lap swims. You can learn more about Olivier here.

Related Articles

400m IM World Record
Swimming World Records

400m IM World Record

The 400m IM world record is monitored and ratified by FINA, the world governing body for competitive swimming. The event has been tracked since the mid 1950’s for both men and women at the long course level, while short course world records in the 400 IM have been recognized since

Read More »
100m breaststroke world record
Swimming World Records

100m Breaststroke World Record

The 100m breaststroke world record is tracked and ratified by the international governing body for the sport of competitive swimming (FINA). The WR for the 100 breaststroke was first ratified for men in 1961, while times going back as far as 1958 are recognized on the women’s side in long

Read More »
200m IM World Record
Swimming World Records

200m IM World Record

The 200m IM world record is tracked and ratified by FINA, the world governing body for competitive swimming and aquatic sports. The world records for men and women have been tracked since 1956 (1957 for the women), with records in the 25m pool having been ratified since only 1991. The

Read More »
200m Butterfly World Record
Swimming World Records

200m Butterfly World Record

The 200m butterfly world record is managed and tracked by FINA, the world governing body for the sport of competitive swimming. The butterfly stroke is the newest of strokes, having sprung up as an offshoot of the breaststroke during the early 1930’s. It is also the first stroke to be

Read More »
100m Butterfly World Record
Swimming World Records

100m Butterfly World Record

The 100m butterfly world record is monitored and ratified by the world governing body for swimming, FINA. Records for both men and women have been monitored since 1957 in long course meters. The butterfly stroke is the newest of the stroke disciplines in competitive swimming, and is considered one of

Read More »
50m Butterfly World Record
Swimming World Records

50m Butterfly World Record

The 50m butterfly world record is overseen and ratified by FINA, the world governing body for the sport of competitive swimming. The 50 fly WR is one of the youngest on the books, as it is among the stroke 50’s which have only been tracked since the 1990’s. The 50m

Read More »