Here are the world record times for every women’s freestyle swimming event taking place at the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.
When swimmers take to the pool at the Tokyo Aquatics Center, countless world records could fall. Here’s a complete list of Olympic and world records for every distance in women’s freestyle swimming, taken from the FINA website.
Women’s 50 m Freestyle
World record: 23.67 (Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden)
Olympic record: 24.05 (Ranomi Kromowidjojo, Netherlands)
Sprint specialist Sarah Sjostrom holds the world record in both the 50 and 100 m freestyle events. The Swede lowered both records at the 2017 World Championships in Hungary. However, three swimmers have been under 24 seconds this year and will be gunning for Sjostorm’s 50 m record in Tokyo.
Women’s 100 m Freestyle
World record: 51.71 (Sarah Sjostrom, Sweden)
Olympic record: 52.70 (shared jointly by Canada’s Penny Oleksiak and USA’s Simone Manuel)
The fact that almost a full second separates the world and Olympic records in the women’s 100 m freestyle suggests the Olympic record, at the very least, should be in jeopardy at Tokyo 2021. Interestingly, the three fastest times in the world this year all belong to Australians, with Emma McKeon leading the pack at 52.19.
Women’s 200 m Freestyle
World record: 1:52.98 (Frederica Pellegrini, Italy)
Olympic record: 1:53.61 (Allison Schmidt, USA)
Frederica Pellegrini’s 200 m freestyle time from the 2009 World Championships is the oldest women’s long course world record still standing. Pellegrini dominated the event for several years, breaking the world record five times, starting at 1:55.45 then culminating in the 1:52.98 that has been near untouchable for over a decade. However, Ariarne Titmus recently came as close as anyone has to besting Pellegrini’s time. She hit the wall in 1:53.09 at the Australian Olympic Trials in June.
Women’s 400 m Freestyle
World record: 3:56.46 (Katie Ledecky, USA)
Olympic record: 3:56.46 (Katie Ledecky, USA)
The women’s 400 m freestyle should be a tight race in Tokyo, with world record holder Katie Ledecky going head-to-head with Australia’s Ariarne Titmus. In Olympic qualification, the Aussie posted the fastest time (3:56.90) in the world this year and narrowly missed Ledecky’s record time set back at the Rio 2016 Games. With an Olympic showdown looming, don’t be surprised if this world record gets beaten by one or both women at Tokyo 2021.
Women’s 800 m Freestyle
World record: 8:04.79 (Katie Ledecky, USA)
Olympic record: 8:04.79 (Katie Ledecky, USA)
Remember when Katie Ledecky touched the wall at Rio 2016 and there was no one else even on the TV screen? That was the women’s 800 m freestyle. Ledecky finished more than 15 meters ahead of anyone else, and she smashed her own world record in the process.
Women’s 1500 m Freestyle
World record: 15:20.48 (Katie Ledecky, USA)
Olympic record: None
This is an Olympic record for the taking at Tokyo 2021. The only question is will the world record be broken in the process. The women’s 1500 m freestyle has never been contested in Olympic competition, but it’s been added for Tokyo 2021, finally putting to bed the problematic assumption that a mile was too far for women to swim. Women have been competing in the event for decades, so it’s nice to see it getting Olympic recognition at last.
Katie Ledecky will be the overwhelming favorite here having broken the world record six times since the 2013 World Championships. She owns the fastest 10 swims in history in the women’s 1500 m freestyle, with her most recent world record set in 2018.