World record progression 100 metres freestyle

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The first world record in the men's 100 metres freestyle in long course (50 metres) swimming was recognised by the International Swimming Federation (FINA) in 1905.[1] In the short course (25 metres) swimming events the world's governing body recognizes world records since 3 March 1991.

Times have consistently dropped over the years due to better training techniques and to new developments in the sport.

In the first four Olympics competitions were not held in pools, but rather in open water (1896- The Mediterranean Sea, 1900- The Seine River, 1904- an artificial lake, 1906- The Mediterranean Sea). The 1904 Olympics freestyle race was the only one ever measured at 100 yards, instead of the usual 100 metres. A 100 metre pool was built for the 1908 Olympics and sat in the centre of the main stadium's track and field oval. The 1912 Olympics, held in the Stockholm harbour, marked the beginning of electronic timing.

Male swimmers wore full body suits up until the 1940s, which caused more drag in the water than their modern swim-wear counterparts. Also, over the years, pool designs have lessened the drag. Some design considerations allow for the reduction of swimming resistance making the pool faster. Namely, proper pool depth, elimination of currents, increased lane width, energy absorbing racing lane lines and gutters, and the use of other innovative hydraulic, acoustic and illumination designs.

In 2008, leading up to the Olympics, Speedo introduced a 50% Polyurethane suit dubbed LZR. Pure polyurethane suits from Arena (X-Glide), Adidas (Hydrofoil) and Italian suit manufacturer, Jaked were thought to be largely responsible for the multiple World Records in 2009 including at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships (dubbed the "Plastic Games"). FINA announced a ban on non-textile suit that took effect on January 2010.[2]

The 1924 Summer Olympics were the first to use the standard 50 metre pool with marked lanes. In the freestyle, swimmers originally dived from the pool walls, but diving blocks were eventually incorporated at the 1936 Summer Olympics. The tumble turn ("flip-turn") was developed by the 1950s.

Graphic data for World Record Progression in Men and Women Swimming 50m-100m-200m Long and Short Course Butterfly-Backstroke-Breaststroke-Freestyle

Men[edit]

Long course[edit]

# Time Name Nationality Date Meet Location Ref
1 1:05.8 Halmay , Zoltán Zoltán Halmay  Hungary 3 Dec 1905 - Vienna, Austria
2 1:05.6 Daniels , Charles Charles Daniels  United States 20 Jul 1908 Olympic Games London, United Kingdom [3]
3 1:02.8 (tt) Daniels , Charles Charles Daniels  United States 15 Apr 1910 Special record attempt by the New York AC New York City, United States [4]
4 1:02.4 Bretting , Kurt Kurt Bretting  Germany 6 Apr 1912 - Brussels, Belgium [5]
5 1:01.6 Kahanamoku , Duke Duke Kahanamoku  United States 20 Jul 1912 - Hamburg, Germany
6 1:01.4 Kahanamoku , Duke Duke Kahanamoku  United States 9 Aug 1918 International exhibition New York City, United States [6]
7 1:00.4 Kahanamoku , Duke Duke Kahanamoku  United States 24 Aug 1920 Olympic Games Antwerp, Belgium
8 58.6 Weissmuller , Johnny Johnny Weissmuller  United States 19 Jul 1922 - Alameda, California, United States
9 57.4 Weissmuller , Johnny Johnny Weissmuller  United States 17 Feb 1924 - Miami, United States
10 56.8 Fick , Peter Peter Fick  United States 2 Mar 1934 Yale University Swimming Carnival New Haven, United States [7]
11 56.6 (tt) Fick , Peter Peter Fick  United States 5 Mar 1935 Yale University Swimming Carnival New Haven, United States [8]
12 56.4 Fick , Peter Peter Fick  United States 11 Feb 1936 Yale Benefit Event for the United States Olympic team New Haven, United States [9]
13 55.9 (tt) Ford , Alan Alan Ford  United States 13 Apr 1944 Special record attempt New Haven, United States [10]
14 55.8 Jany , Alex Alex Jany  France 15 Sep 1947 - Menton, France
15 55.4 (tt) Ford , Alan Alan Ford  United States 29 Jun 1948 New Haven Swim Club team time trial New Haven, United States [11]
16 54.8 (tt) Cleveland , Dick Dick Cleveland  United States 1 Apr 1954 AAU Championships New Haven, United States [12]
17 55.4 Henricks , Jon Jon Henricks  Australia 30 Nov 1956 Olympic Games Melbourne, Australia [13]
18 55.2 Devitt , John John Devitt  Australia 19 Jan 1957 New South Wales State Championships Sydney, Australia [14]
19 54.6 Devitt , John John Devitt  Australia 28 Jan 1957 Queensland State Championships Brisbane, Australia [15]
20 54.4 Clark , Steve Steve Clark  United States 18 Aug 1961 Men's NAAA Championships Los Angeles, United States [16]
21 53.6 (tt) Santos , Manuel dos Manuel dos Santos  Brazil 20 Sep 1961 Special record attempt by the CR Guanabara Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
22 52.9 Gottvallès , Alain Alain Gottvallès  France 13 Sep 1964 - Budapest, Hungary
22= 52.9 (r) Clark , Steve Steve Clark  United States 14 Oct 1964 Olympic Games Tokyo, Japan [17]
23 52.6 (r) Walsh , Ken Ken Walsh  United States 27 Jul 1967 Pan American Games Winnipeg, Canada [18]
23= 52.6 Zorn , Zac Zac Zorn  United States 2 Sep 1968 USA Olympic Trials (elec. 52.58) Los Angeles, United States [19]
24 52.2 Wenden , Michael Michael Wenden  Australia 19 Oct 1968 Olympic Games Mexico City, Mexico [20]
25 51.94 (h) Spitz , Mark Mark Spitz  United States 23 Aug 1970 AAU Championships Los Angeles, United States [21]
26 51.47 (h) Spitz , Mark Mark Spitz  United States 5 Aug 1972 USA Olympic Trials Chicago, United States [22]
27 51.22 Spitz , Mark Mark Spitz  United States 3 Sep 1972 Olympic Games Munich, West Germany [23]
28 51.12 (h) Montgomery , Jim Jim Montgomery  United States 21 Jun 1975 AAU World Championship Trials Long Beach, United States [24]
29 51.11 Coan , Andy Andy Coan  United States 3 Aug 1975 An Amateur Athletic Union Region Four meet Fort Lauderdale, United States [25]
30 50.59 (sf) Montgomery , Jim Jim Montgomery  United States 23 Aug 1975 AAU Championships Kansas City, United States [26]
31 50.39 (sf) Montgomery , Jim Jim Montgomery  United States 24 Jul 1976 Olympic Games Montreal, Canada [27]
32 49.99 Montgomery , Jim Jim Montgomery  United States 25 Jul 1976 Olympic Games Montreal, Canada [28]
33 49.44 Skinner , Jonty Jonty Skinner  South Africa 14 Aug 1976 AAU Championships Philadelphia, United States [29]
34 49.36 (tt) Gaines , Rowdy Rowdy Gaines  United States 3 Apr 1981 Longhorn Invitational Austin, United States
35 49.24 (h) Biondi , Matt Matt Biondi  United States 6 Aug 1985 USA Summer Nationals Mission Viejo, United States [30]
36 48.95 Biondi , Matt Matt Biondi  United States 6 Aug 1985 USA Summer Nationals Mission Viejo, United States [31]
37 48.74 Biondi , Matt Matt Biondi  United States 24 Jun 1986 USA World Championships Trials Orlando, United States [32]
38 48.42 Biondi , Matt Matt Biondi  United States 10 Aug 1988 USA Olympic Trials Austin, United States
39 48.21 Popov , Alexander Alexander Popov  Russia 18 Jun 1994 International Swimming Meeting of Monte Carlo Monte-Carlo, Monaco
40 48.18 (r) Klim , Michael Michael Klim  Australia 16 Sep 2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia [33]
41 47.84 (sf) Hoogenband , Pieter van den Pieter van den Hoogenband  Netherlands 19 Sep 2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia [34]
42 47.60 (sf) Bernard , Alain Alain Bernard  France 21 Mar 2008 European Championships Eindhoven, Netherlands [35]
43 47.50 Bernard , Alain Alain Bernard  France 22 Mar 2008 European Championships Eindhoven, Netherlands [36]
44 47.24 (r) Sullivan , Eamon Eamon Sullivan  Australia 11 Aug 2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China [37]
45 47.20 (sf) Bernard , Alain Alain Bernard  France 13 Aug 2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China [38]
46 47.05 (sf) Sullivan , Eamon Eamon Sullivan  Australia 13 Aug 2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China
47 46.94 Bernard , Alain Alain Bernard  France 23 Apr 2009 French National Championships Montpellier, France [39][40]
47 46.91 Cielo , César César Cielo  Brazil 30 Jul 2009 World Championships Rome, Italy [41]

Short course[edit]

# Time Name Nationality Date Meet Location Ref
WBT 48.20 Gross , Michael Michael Gross  West Germany 11 Feb 1988  ? Offenbach, Germany [42]
[43]
1 47.94 Borges , Gustavo Gustavo Borges  Brazil 2 Jul 1993 Brazil Nationals São Paulo, Brazil [44]
2 47.83 Popov , Alexander Alexander Popov  Russia 1 Jan 1994 World Cup Hong Kong
3 47.82 Popov , Alexander Alexander Popov  Russia 5 Jan 1994 World Cup Beijing, China
4 47.12 Popov , Alexander Alexander Popov  Russia 12 Mar 1994 World Cup Desenzano del Garda, Italy
5 46.74 Popov , Alexander Alexander Popov  Russia 19 Mar 1994 World Cup Gelsenkirchen, Germany
6 46.25 Crocker , Ian Ian Crocker  United States 27 Mar 2004 NCAA Men's Division 1 Championships East Meadow, United States [45]
6= 46.25 Schoeman , Roland Roland Schoeman  South Africa 22 Jan 2005 World Cup Berlin, Germany [46]
7 45.83 Nystrand , Stefan Stefan Nystrand  Sweden 17 Nov 2007 World Cup Berlin, Germany [47]
8 45.69 Bernard , Alain Alain Bernard  France 7 Dec 2008 French SC Championships Angers, France
9 45.12 (sf) Leveaux , Amaury Amaury Leveaux  France 12 Dec 2008 European SC Championships Rijeka, Croatia [48]
10 44.94 Leveaux , Amaury Amaury Leveaux  France 13 Dec 2008 European SC Championships Rijeka, Croatia

Women[edit]

Long course[edit]

# Time Name Nationality Date Meet Location Ref
1 1:35.0 Gerstung , Martha Martha Gerstung  Germany 18 Oct 1908 - Magdeburg, Germany
2 1:26.6 Guttenstein , C. C. Guttenstein  Belgium 2 Oct 1910 - Schaerbeek, Belgium
3 1:24.6 Curwen , Daisy Daisy Curwen  Great Britain 29 Sep 1911 - Liverpool, United Kingdom
4 1:20.6 Curwen , Daisy Daisy Curwen  Great Britain 10 Jun 1912 - Birkenhead, United Kingdom
5 1:19.8 Durack , Fanny Fanny Durack  Australia 9 Jul 1912 Olympic Games Stockholm, Sweden [49]
6 1:18.8 Durack , Fanny Fanny Durack  Australia 21 Jul 1912 - Hamburg, Germany
7 1:16.2 Durack , Fanny Fanny Durack  Australia 6 Feb 1915 NSW Ladies' Amateur Championships Sydney, Australia [50]
8 1:14.4 (sf) Bleibtrey , Ethelda Ethelda Bleibtrey  United States 23 Aug 1920 Olympic Games Antwerp, Belgium [51]
9 1:13.6 Bleibtrey , Ethelda Ethelda Bleibtrey  United States 25 Aug 1920 Olympic Games Antwerp, Belgium [52]
10 1:12.8 Ederle , Gertrude Gertrude Ederle  United States 30 Jun 1923 - Newark, New Jersey, United States [53]
11 1:12.2 (h) Wehselau , Mariechen Mariechen Wehselau  United States 19 Jul 1924 Olympic Games Paris, France
12 1:10.0 Lackie , Ethel Ethel Lackie  United States 28 Jan 1926 - Toledo, OH, United States [54]
13 1:09.8 Garatti , Eleanor Eleanor Garatti  United States 7 Aug 1929 National AAU women's swimming meet Honolulu, Hawaii [55]
14 1:09.4 Osipowich , Albina Albina Osipowich  United States 25 Aug 1929 - San Francisco, United States
15 1:08.0 Madison , Helene Helene Madison  United States 14 Mar 1930 National AAU Women's Indoor Swimming and Diving Championships Miami Beach, United States [56]
16 1:06.6 Madison , Helene Helene Madison  United States 20 Apr 1931 - Boston, United States
17 1:06.0 Ouden , Willy den Willy den Ouden  Netherlands 9 Jul 1933 - Antwerp, Belgium
18 1:05.4 Ouden , Willy den Willy den Ouden  Netherlands 24 Feb 1934 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
19 1:04.8 Ouden , Willy den Willy den Ouden  Netherlands 15 Apr 1934 - Rotterdam, Netherlands
20 1:04.6 Ouden , Willy den Willy den Ouden  Netherlands 27 Feb 1936 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
21 1:04.5 Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 21 Feb 1956 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia [57]
22 1:04.2 Gastelaars , Cocky Cocky Gastelaars  Netherlands 3 Mar 1956 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
23 1:04.0 Gastelaars , Cocky Cocky Gastelaars  Netherlands 14 Apr 1956 - Schiedam, Netherlands
24 1:03.3 Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 25 Aug 1956 Australian Olympic Squad Swimming Carnival Townsville, Australia [58]
25 1:03.2 Crapp , Lorraine Lorraine Crapp  Australia 20 Oct 1956 Australian Olympic Squad Swimming Carnival Sydney, Australia [59]
26 1:02.4 Crapp , Lorraine Lorraine Crapp  Australia 25 Oct 1956 Australian Olympic Trials Melbourne, Australia [60]
27 1:02.0 Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 11 Dec 1956 Olympic Games Melbourne, Australia [61]
28 1:01.5 (yd) Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 18 Feb 1958 Australian Championships Melbourne, Australia [62]
29 1:01.4 (yd) Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 21 Jul 1958 British Empire & Commonwealth Games Cardiff, United Kingdom [63]
30 1:01.2 Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 10 Aug 1958 - Schiedam, Netherlands
31 1:00.2 (yd) Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 23 Feb 1960 Australian Championships & Olympic Trials Sydney, Australia [64]
32 1:00.0 (yd) Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 23 Oct 1962 Australian British Empire & Commonwealth Games Trials Melbourne, Australia [65]
33 59.9 (yd) Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 27 Oct 1962 Australian British Empire & Commonwealth Games Trials Melbourne, Australia [66]
34 59.5 (yd) Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 24 Nov 1962 British Empire & Commonwealth Games Perth, Australia [67]
35 58.9 Fraser , Dawn Dawn Fraser  Australia 29 Feb 1964 Australian Championships & Olympic Trials Sydney, Australia [68]
35= 58.9 Gould , Shane Shane Gould  Australia 30 Apr 1971 Coca Cola International London, United Kingdom [69]
36 58.5 Gould , Shane Shane Gould  Australia 8 Jan 1972 New South Wales State Championships Sydney, Australia [70]
37 58.25 Ender , Kornelia Kornelia Ender  East Germany 13 Jul 1973 GDR Nationals & World Championship Trials East Berlin, East Germany
38 58.12 Ender , Kornelia Kornelia Ender  East Germany 18 Aug 1973 - Utrecht, Netherlands
39 57.61 (r) Ender , Kornelia Kornelia Ender  East Germany 8 Sep 1973 World Championships Belgrade, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
40 57.54 Ender , Kornelia Kornelia Ender  East Germany 9 Sep 1973 World Championships Belgrade, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
41 57.51 Ender , Kornelia Kornelia Ender  East Germany 4 Jul 1974 GDR Nationals & European Championship Trials Rostock, East Germany
42 56.96 Ender , Kornelia Kornelia Ender  East Germany 19 Aug 1974 European Championships Vienna, Austria
43 56.38 Ender , Kornelia Kornelia Ender  East Germany 14 Mar 1975 GDRvURS Duel Dresden, East Germany
44 56.22 (r) Ender , Kornelia Kornelia Ender  East Germany 26 Jul 1975 World Championships Cali, Colombia
45 55.73 Ender , Kornelia Kornelia Ender  East Germany 1 Jun 1976 GDR Olympic Trials East Berlin, East Germany
46 55.65 Ender , Kornelia Kornelia Ender  East Germany 19 Jul 1976 Olympic Games Montréal, Canada
47 55.41 Krause , Barbara Barbara Krause  East Germany 5 Jul 1978 GDR Nationals & World Championship Trials East Berlin, East Germany
48 54.98 (h) Krause , Barbara Barbara Krause  East Germany 20 Jul 1980 Olympic Games Moscow, Soviet Union
49 54.79 Krause , Barbara Barbara Krause  East Germany 21 Jul 1980 Olympic Games Moscow, Soviet Union
50 54.73 (r) Otto , Kristin Kristin Otto  East Germany 19 Aug 1986 World Championships Madrid, Spain
51 54.48 (h) Thompson , Jenny Jenny Thompson  United States 1 Mar 1992 USA Olympic Trials Indianapolis, United States [71]
52 54.01 Jingyi Le  China 5 Sep 1994 World Championships Rome, Italy [72]
53 53.80 Bruijn , Inge de Inge de Bruijn  Netherlands 28 May 2000 Super Speedo Grand Prix Sheffield, United Kingdom [73]
54 53.77 (sf) Bruijn , Inge de Inge de Bruijn  Netherlands 20 Sep 2000 Olympic Games Sydney, Australia [74]
55 53.66 (sf) Lenton , Libby Libby Lenton  Australia 31 Mar 2004 Australian Championships & Olympic Trials Sydney, Australia [75]
56 53.52 (sf) Henry , Jodie Jodie Henry  Australia 18 Aug 2004 Olympic Games Athens, Greece [76]
57 53.42 (sf) Lenton , Libby Libby Lenton  Australia 31 Jan 2006 Australian Championships & Commonwealth Games Trials Melbourne, Australia [77]
58 53.30 Steffen , Britta Britta Steffen  Germany 2 Aug 2006 European Championships Budapest, Hungary [78]
59 52.88 Trickett , Lisbeth Lisbeth Trickett  Australia 27 Mar 2008 Australian Championships Sydney, Australia [79]
60 52.85 Steffen , Britta Britta Steffen  Germany 25 Jun 2009 German Championships Berlin, Germany [80]
61 52.56 Steffen , Britta Britta Steffen  Germany 27 Jun 2009 German Championships Berlin, Germany [81]
62 52.22 (r) Steffen , Britta Britta Steffen  Germany 26 Jul 2009 World Championships Rome, Italy [82]
63 52.07 Steffen , Britta Britta Steffen  Germany 31 Jul 2009 World Championships Rome, Italy [82]
Legend: # – Record awaiting ratification by FINA; yd – set in a pool measured in yards;
Records not set in finals: h – heat; sf – semifinal; r – relay 1st leg; rh – relay heat 1st leg; b – B final; – en route to final mark; tt – time trial

Short course[edit]

# Time Name Nationality Date Meet Location Ref
1 53.46 Almsick , Franziska van Franziska van Almsick  Germany 6 Jan 1993 World Cup Shanghai, China [83]
2 53.33 Almsick , Franziska van Franziska van Almsick  Germany 10 Jan 1993 World Cup Beijing, China [84]
3 53.01 Jingyi Le  China 2 Dec 1993 World SC Championships Palma de Mallorca, Spain
4 52.80 Alshammar , Therese Therese Alshammar  Sweden 10 Dec 1999 European SC Championships Lisbon, Portugal [85]
5 52.17 Alshammar , Therese Therese Alshammar  Sweden 17 Mar 2000 World SC Championships Athens, Greece [86][87]
6 51.91 (sf) Lenton , Libby Libby Lenton  Australia 8 Aug 2005 Australian SC Championships Melbourne, Australia [88]
7 51.70 Lenton , Libby Libby Lenton  Australia 9 Aug 2005 Australian SC Championships Melbourne, Australia [89]
8 51.01 Trickett , Libby Libby Trickett  Australia 10 Aug 2009 Australian SC Championships Hobart, Australia [90]
Legend: # – Record awaiting ratification by FINA;
Records not set in finals: h – heat; sf – semifinal; r – relay 1st leg; rh – relay heat 1st leg; b – B final; – en route to final mark; tt – time trial

References[edit]

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