Best Swimming Records of All Time


Even though the UK does not have as many record holders as the United States, the country is still present in the tops. We will now see what records are currently held by Great Britain and who are the record winners for the rest of the categories. Considering that we have to appreciate the best British swimmers even though they don’t hold a record, we will mention who is the best in UK at each type of race.

Olympic records

The following data was updated after the Rio Olympics. So, Great Britain can be proud to have a record winner for 100m breaststroke: Adam Peaty (time: 57.13). The US holds the records for 200m backstroke (Tyler Clary), 200m butterfly, 200m medley, 400m medley (Michael Phelps won all three at Beijing), 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle and 4×100 medley.

Other countries that have Olympic record winners are China (Yang Sun: 400m freestyle and 1500m freestyle), Brazil (Cesar Cielo: 50m freestyle), Japan (Ippei Watanabe: 200m breaststroke), Australia (Eamon Sullivan: 100m freestyle) and Singapore (Joseph Schooling: 100m butterfly).

As for women races, the UK has no current record winners. The US holds the records for 200m freestyle (Allison Schmitt), 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle (both held by Katie Ledecky), 200m backstroke (Missy Franklin), 100m breaststroke (Lily King), 200m breaststroke (Rebecca Soni), 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley.

The best of the UK

Benjamin Proud has the best British performance in 50m freestyle at Rio doubled by Francesca Halsall in the women race. For 100m freestyle, the best times belong to Duncan Scott and Francesca Halsall. For the same style, the 200m and 400m records are held by James Guy and Joanne Jackson. The 800m and 1500m freestyle records go to David Davies while Rebecca Adlington holds the 800m and Jazmin Carlin, the 1500m record.

For backstroke, the records go to: Liam Tancock and Georgia Davies (50m), Liam Tancock and Gemma Spofforth (100m), James Goddard and Gemma Spofforth (200m). The breaststroke races were dominated by: Adam Peaty and Sophie Taylor (50m), Adam Peaty and Francesca Halsall (100m), Ross Murdoch and Molly Renshaw (200m).

The best people at butterfly are Benjamin Proud and Francesca Halsall (50m), Michael Rock and Ellen Gandy (100m and 200m). As for individual medley races, we have James Goddard and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor (200m), Daniel Wallace and Hannah Miley (400m).


Although there were many British Olympic records over the years, at the moment, UK has only one record winner, namely Adam Peaty. However, all of the above mentioned Brits participated to international competitions such as the Olympic Games, the FINA World Championship, the Commonwealth Games, or European Championships. So, we can proudly say the Brits have world class swimmers who perform well in any given competition. What do all these people have in common? They spent thousands of hours in the pool training to achieve their goals and they most likely had amazing coaches and emotional and/or financial support from family members. Most world class swimmers start from childhood, which is why parents play an important role in discovering their talents.