1912:Walter Bathe, Germany, 3:01.08
2008:Kosuke Kitajima, Japan, 2:07.64
Athletes’ understanding of what makes an efficient breaststroke (the slowest of all strokes) has evolved drastically. Over a century, newer limitations on how deep a swimmer’s body and hands can move mid-stroke, and what leg movements are legal on flip-turns has changed the way swimmers race. We’ve seen swimmers become almost a minute faster since 1912. We’ll likely see even faster times in the pool by 2112 as breaststroke continues to evolve.