SHANGHAI, China, April 9. WHEN the week started, Ryan Lochte had never established a world record. Now, he has three to his credit. Completing a stellar week at the World Short Course Championships, the University of Florida sensation set a pair of global standards on Sunday. Having claimed the world record in the 200 individual medley earlier in the week, Lochte added the 100 and 200 backstroke marks to his resume.
In the 200 backstroke, Lochte obliterated Austrian Markus Rogan’s record from last December by swimming an eye-popping time of 1:49.05, well under Rogan’s 1:50.43. Lochte split 53.74 at the 100-meter mark, was at 1:21.54 at the 150-meter point and cruised to the wall in impressive fashion. Rogan was second with a time of 1:50.97 and Australian Matt Welsh took bronze in 1:53.10.
For a finale, Lochte led off the American 400 medley relay with the first sub-50 100 backstroke in history. Lochte stroked to a clocking of 49.99 to better the world record of 50.32, set in 2004 by Peter Marshall.
Ok, now this pretty much defines peak performance. What makes it all the more jaw-dropping is that he did it just two weeks after the NCAA Championships. Two weeks after the taper.
Maybe things are different now; maybe the taper isn't such a fine thing as it was. I swam YMCA State about two weeks after high school state, and although I won the 100 breaststroke and was 2nd or third (have to go look) in the 200 breaststroke (an event I'd never swam competetively until then) with fairly respectable times, I was at least a half second off in the 100.
The Aussies were, as a group, just incredible as well. If you're an Aussie and interested, go read; it's all on the front page over at Swiminfo.com.
And that is all for this evening. Swimfans, enjoy; the rest a yez, move along.