Swimming: The 100m butterfly world record - significant milestones

(right to left) Joint silver medalists, Michael Phelps, Chad Guy Bertrand le Clos, Laszlo Cseh and gold medalist Joseph Schooling celebrate on the podium during the Men's 100m Butterfly Final medals ceremony on Aug 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
(right to left) Joint silver medalists, Michael Phelps, Chad Guy Bertrand le Clos, Laszlo Cseh and gold medalist Joseph Schooling celebrate on the podium during the Men's 100m Butterfly Final medals ceremony on Aug 12, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Already making waves at the World Championships in Budapest, setting new national and Asian records along the way in the 50m butterfly, Singapore swimming's golden boy Joseph Schooling now has his sights set firmly on the 100m butterfly world record.

The Straits Times takes a look at historical landmarks of the event.

1:03.4 - Gyorgy Tumpek (Budapest, Hungary; May 26, 1957)

Now 88, the Hungarian swimmer had won bronze in the 200m butterfly the year before at the Melbourne Olympics. His is the first time to be recognised by international swimming governing body Fina as a world record in the 100m butterfly. It would however stand for less than a month, before being broken by Japanese rival Takashi Ishimoto.

1:01.0 - Takashi Ishimoto (Kochi, Japan; Sept 14, 1958)

The Japanese swimmer is the only Asian on the 100m butterfly world record books in its 60-year history. He first shaved almost two seconds off Tumpek's time on June 26, 1957, clocking 1min 1.5sec, before going on to break his own record a further four times in two years. His fastest time was 1:01, set in his home town of Kochi. He died aged 73 on March 9, 2009.

Get The Straits Times
newsletters in your inbox

59.0 - Lance Larson (Los Angeles; June 26, 1960)

The first to break the one-minute mark is the now 77-year-old American "all-rounder". Larson, a former University of Southern California swimmer, was already setting waves in his high school pool, being the first to break the 50-second barrier in the 100 yards (91.4m) freestyle. In the 1960 Rome Olympics, he won a gold as the butterfly swimmer for the American 4x100m medley relay team, as well as an individual silver in the 100m freestyle. Larson eventually broke his own 100m fly record in 58.7sec just a month later. He ushered in an era of American dominance in the event, with Argentinian Luis Nicolao the only non-American to grace the record books till 1980.

54.27 - Mark Spitz (Munich; Aug 31, 1972)

"The Shark", now 67, was the original American swimming hero before the emergence of Michael Phelps. His haul of seven golds, setting seven world records in the process, at the 1972 Munich Olympics, was a feat surpassed only by heir apparent Phelps (eight golds at Beijing 2008). Spitz first appeared on the Fina records in 1967, at 56.29. In the next five years, he went on to break that record a further six times, the most of any swimmer in history, culminating in 54.27 during his unprecedented record-breaking Olympics in 1972. His feats saw him named World Swimmer of the Year by American-based Swimming World Magazine in 1968, 1971 and 1972.


 Picture dated on Aug 31, 1972 showing US Marc Spitz at the Olympic Games in Munich. PHOTO: EPA

52.84 - Pablo Morales (Orlando; June 23, 1986)

American swimmer Morales has the distinction of having held the record the longest in the event's history. Morales first appeared in the record books in 1984, clocking in at 53.38sec at the US Olympic trials. His first record, however, lasted just four days before being broken by German Michael Gross. His second appearance atop the record books lasted for much longer as his time of 52.84sec stood for nine years - from 1986 to 1995.

52.32 - Denis Pankratov (Vienna; Aug 23, 1995)

The Russian butterfly specialist, now 43, burst onto the scene at the European Championships in 1993, winning his first international medals - picking up golds in the 200m butterfly and 4x100m medley relay in Sheffield. A similarly stellar performance in the World Championships a year later cemented his position as a top butterfly swimmer. At the 1995 European Championships, he clocked 52.32 to do what no swimmer had been able to do for nine years - break Morales' 52.84 mark. Pankratov's rise however did not end there. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he completed a butterfly double in the 100m and 200m.

50.98 - Ian Crocker (Barcelona; July 26, 2003)


Ian Crocker (centre) of the US dives in to the water, 0.04 seconds early, as team mate Scott Usher (underwater, lower left) comes in to touch, during the men's 4 x 100m medley relay, at the 12th FINA World Championships in Melbourne on April 01,  2007. 

The 2003 World Aquatics Championships saw a crazy three days for the record books. First, Ukrainian swimmer Andriy Serdinov swam 51.76sec in the semi-finals to erase Australian Michael Klim's 51.81. Serdinov's stint in the record books, however, lasted less than a day, as Michael Phelps clocked 51.47 in the very next semi-final to mark his first appearance in the books. The stage was set for the two swimmers to fight it out in the final, but instead it was American Ian Crocker who stole the limelight in the final, winning the gold in a record 50.98, breaching the 51-second mark for the first time. Crocker, now 34, wemt on to break his own record twice more, in 2004 and 2005, clocking 50.76 and 50.40 respectively.

49.82 - Michael Phelps (Rome; Aug 1, 2009)


US swimmer Michael Phelps, reacts after the men's 100m butterfly final on Aug 1, 2009 at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Rome. 

No swimming list would be complete without a mention of the most decorated Olympian of all time, American hero Michael Phelps, now 32. But 2009 was a controversial year for the sport, with the introduction of supposedly "super-suits" seeing a whole host of records fall. Phelps himself was a "victim" of this new swim-tech, losing his first race in four years of competitive swimming to Germany's Paul Biedermann in the 200m freestyle at the 2009 World Aquatics Championships. There was no repeat in the 100m butterfly however, as Phelps beat closest competitor and previous record holder Milorad Cavic in the final, despite the Serb wearing the same suit as Biedermann. The so-called "super-suits" were eventually be banned by Fina, with new regulations outlawing full-body suits.

Phelps' record stands to this day.

Joseph Schooling's progression -

51.69: July 2014, Commonwealth Games, Glasgow


Swimmer Joseph Schooling swimming his way to a silver at the 100m butterfly, the first ever swimming medal at the Commonwealth Games, held at Tollcross International Swimming Centre in Glasgow, Scotland on July 28, 2014. PHOTO: ST FILES 

50.96: July 2015, World Championships, Kazan


Joseph Isaac Schooling of Singapore starts in the men's 100m butterfly semi-final at the Aquatics World Championships in Kazan, Russia, Aug 7, 2015. PHOTO: REUTERS 

50.39: August 2016, Olympics, Rio de Janeiro


Joseph Schooling of Singapore reacting after winning the Rio 2016 Olympic Games men's 100m butterfly final at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug 12, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILES