SwimSwam Pulse: 52% Think Honda’s 200 Fly WR Was More Impressive Than Ledecky, Li

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers which world record swim was most impressive:

Question: Which SCM world record swim was most impressive?


In a span of one week, three short course meter world records fell by the wayside, and all by significant margins.

At the Japanese Short Course Championships in Tokyo, Tomoru Honda put up a time of 1:46.85 in the men’s 200 butterfly, annihilating the world record of 1:48.24 set by Daiya Seto in 2018.

At the Chinese Championships five days later in Beijing, Li Bingjie knocked more than two and a half seconds off the world record in the women’s 400 freestyle, clocking 3:51.30 to erase Ariarne Titmus‘ 2018 mark of 3:53.92.

Then, at the second stop of the FINA World Cup circuit in Toronto, Katie Ledecky broke the world record in the women’s 1500 freestyle by nearly 10 seconds in 15:08.24, lowering Sarah (Kohler) Wellbrock‘s 2019 record of 15:18.01.

When we look at the stats, all three stack up very similarly. While Ledecky’s margin over the previous world record is eye-popping, when we break it down on a per 50-meter basis, it actually slightly trails the other two records in terms of margin, and it also lags slightly behind on the FINA point table.

Old WR
New WR
Margin per 50m
FINA Points

Men’s 200 fly

Women’s 400 free

Women’s 1500 free

In the poll, 52 percent of readers selected Honda’s record in the 200 fly, and it’s hard to argue with. Chad le Clos first went sub-1:49 in 2013, clocking 1:48.56, and for nine years we saw le Clos, Seto and Tom Shields go 1:48-something nine more times, and it seemed like that was the threshold where this record would sit for some time—or at least until LCM world record holder Kristof Milak put his focus on short course.

But then Honda came out of nowhere, not only cracking 1:48, but going sub-1:47.

29 percent of readers picked Ledecky’s world record, which seems low given that she took down the old record, regardless of distance, by nearly 10 seconds. However, of the three records, Ledecky’s was the only one anyone could’ve predicted prior to the competition she was racing in, given her dominance in LCM and the fact she had never contested the SCM version of the event.

Li’s 3:51.30 world record trails but still picked up nearly 19 percent of votes. It was an incredibly impressive swim, especially when we consider she did it by negative-splitting the race. Also we have to factor in that Ledecky and Summer McIntosh went head-to-head in the same event a few days later in Toronto, and while they were also under the old world record, were still a full second and a half back of Li.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks: Who was the biggest surprise performer of the 2022 FINA World Cup?

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.

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