In the post special suits era of swimming you don’t expect too many records to be broken in the World Championships, and yet it happened six times in Barcelona, all by women swimmers, with Lithuanian sensation Ruta Meilutyte and another 16-year old, Katie Ledecky, both breaking two records during the meet, with Yulia Yefimova and Rikke Moller Pedersen adding a world record each.
An interesting aspect of the world-record breaking trend besides the gender of the athletes is that four of the six records were achieved in the breaststroke competitions, with Ledecky, a long distance swimmer (400, 800, 1500) being the only freestyler of the bunch.
Rūta Meilutytė is only 16 years old, but it seems like she’s going to be dominating the breaststroke events for a very long time, setting two world records in the competition, both of them in the semifinals. The first was on July 29, as she swam a 1:04.35 in the 100 meters, an event she took the gold medal in a year ago in London. She went on to win her first (and only so far) World Championship gold medal. A few days later, in the semifinal of the 50 meters breaststroke, she swam a 29.48 to set her second world record. In the final she finished second behind Yulia Yefimova, missing the gold by 0.07 seconds.
The same Yefimova, who finished with two golds in the competition (50 and 200) actually set a world record in the 50 meters on the same day as Meilutyte, swimming a 29.78 in the heats.
Katie Ledecky of the United States has won four gold medals in Barcelona, and the 16-year old looks like she’s going to rule the long distances for a very long time in Women’s swimming. She won the individual gold in 400 meters, 800 and 1500, while setting new world records in both the 800 and 1500 distances. She swam a 15:36.53 in the 1500, and four days later an 8:13.86 to claim the 800 gold.
The sixth world record of the competition was achieved by Rikke Møller Pedersen, who set a new world record in the 200 meters of the breaststroke during the semifinals with a 2:19.11, but finished behind Yefimova in the final, taking a silver medal, her first in the World Championships.