Paul Biedermann’s 200 Focus Pays Dividends: 1:45.6 Delivers Crown & World No1 Rank

Paul Biedermann by Patrick B. Kraemer

Paul Biedermann bypassed the 400m free at the 127th German Swimming Championships ion Berlin to focus on the 200m. The move paid dividends today as the world record holder from a different time clocked 1:45.60 to take the four-lap crown and the helm of the global rankings and book his ticket to the World Championships in August

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Paul Biedermann bypassed the 400m free at the 127th German Swimming Championships ion Berlin to focus on the 200m. The move paid dividends today as the world record holder from a different time clocked 1:45.60 to take the four-lap crown and the helm of the global rankings and book his ticket to the World Championships in August



Have to say that I’m very happy for Biedermann. It’s one of his best trials swim for a long time and I really hope to see him dip back under 1:45 as he did in Shanghai a few years back. The 200m Fr in Kazan is shaping up to be the event to watch.

Now all we need to see is who the Americans send for this.

John Lohn

Very interesting stretch in which athletes from six countries started at 1:46.07 and one-upped each to the point of 1:45.60 today. Should be a terrific even at the World Champs with many possible outcomes.


Beiderman has stated he will be retiring after Rio. I’m happy to see he’s working hard to end his career at/near the top!

@HKSwimmer, the US is sending Conor Dwyer and Ryan Lochte to compete in the 200 free; although I have no idea how competitive they’ll be, I’m hoping for the best. I agree, that the men’s 200 free final is going to be very exciting!


Annoyingly, the Americans picked their 2015 teams last summer, never mind that it’s looking like a number of swimmers are showing signs now that they’re in better form than the official WCs team.

As for Biedermann , I’m always glad to see him swim well these days. I guess because of whose records he took down in 2009, he seems to get vilified more for using the same swimsuits everyone did that year and held up as a sign of Everything That Went Wrong in 2009 than someone like Arianna Kukors does.


Germany I feel is the sleeping dog of European Swimming, when compared to France, Hungary and the Netherlands. While both Sweden and Denmark are much improved recently.

Only one medal at the last Olympics and one at the last worlds they have one or two elite swimmers but given their population should be producing way more.


@beachmouse, VERY good point about 2009! Honestly, I am one of the people who should be apologizing to Beiderman because I wanted Phelp’s and Thorpe’s records to remain on the books (Especially Thorpe’s record! 0.01? Are you kidding me? LOL!), but I conveniently forget about others (Americans) who benefitted!

@Chris, as reported on this site, German swimmers have shown signs of resurgence at their Nationals.

Craig Lord

Beachmouse, the trouble for Paul in Rome was that he happened to beat you know who and he took down Thorpe’s records and it simply looked bizarre … it was obvious (at least to me) that he was thunderously far ahead of where you might expect him to be, which was a potential podium placer but not a dominant world champion travelling at ‘world record’ pace … it is true that most (not all) wore the full poly/neo suits but Phelps did not (neither did Gemma Spofforth) and some felt rather bitter about it being pointed out that Phelps would have won some of his races in a ‘duffle coat’, in a manner of speaking, had that been the suit of the season… he was a proven winner on the very biggest occasions, a record setter many times over – in suits of any kind. Others who won in Rome were not in the same category but emerged doing astonishing times in farcical circumstances, Arianna included. I don’t feel that those people (nor their status as athletes capable of making finals and more on the biggest of occasion) were vilified — but the circumstance, the suit, the time etc certainly were (and deserved to be – all very unfair to many swimmers, barring those who boasted ‘its all me’ when they knew it most certainly was not)


Nice time by Biedermann. Would be nice to see him in a 1:44 in Kazan , the question I think is whether Sun plans on swimming the 200 or deciding not to like he did in Barcelona .


It’s a very rare thing for a lazy athlete to make it to a World Championships or Olympic final. And while the suits did benefit some more than others, peel away the rubber, and you’ve still got someone who was putting in 80K-120K a week into training, and if someone came along and said ‘it was because of the suit’, then it would be hard not to respond about how the suit wasn’t there when the athlete was vomiting their way through a 20×400 test set during training.

The technology of those two years really does seem like it trumped in many people’s eyes how hard it was to get to the point where you earned yourself a chance to use shiny suit provided by federation or sponsor in competition.

I’m definitely glad the suits are gone now and we can focus more on the athletes themselves again rather than what they’re wearing.

Craig Lord

Me, too, on that last score beachmouse .. but I would be amazed if some of those excelling in suits in 2009 were doing anything remotely near 120k a week 🙂 including some, who came, wiped 9sec off their 200m PB, conquered and were never heard of again… remember Higl… 2:30.5 entry time, 2:21.6 world title… wow! (or not)

Viva la Bang

I will be very interested on what the Brits produce at their trials this week, Am sure James Guy has a 1.45 in him as well!


Higl took advantage of Rebecca Soni swimming the worst paced 200M breaststroke in elite competition ever. I did not know it was possible for a breaststroker to get the piano on their back like LC 200 butterflyers do.

Paul Andrew

Craig, your reporting on the Rome circus, as with everything else, was excellent and transformative. But I feel there’s a tendency to lump all the suited swimmers from that era together sometimes – when in fact each case is individual. I think you sell Biedermann a little short to call him merely “a potential podium placer” at Rome. Certainly he would not been so crushingly dominant without the suit, but I feel he would have always been in the hunt for gold in a very tight race if it were textile only rules. It must have occured to you that some of these swimmers might have naturally been at the peak of their careers in Rome. But the suits make it impossible to gauge. I’d love to know how Biedermann reflects on this himself. Does he resent the chance of not contesting a world championship

Paul Andrew

sorry didn’t quite finish ….

‘I wonder if he feels ‘robbed’ in not having the chance to prove his full and natural worth when he was at the peak of his powers in Rome?’ It will always have an ‘*’ next to it and he probably knows that. Obviously he got a bronze world champs in textile, but perhaps past his natural peak.

Craig Lord

Paul – I don’t think Paul resents it – from the quotes he has given, he puts it in context and knows where it fits. He has indicated that he resents that Phelps’ 2008-09 efforts were not as questioned. There is a reason for that, in my view. Going into Rome, Paul was not a contender for gold going into his races: his bests were 1:46.00 and 3:47.69. Those times did not make him a title contender above others at the time.

Craig Lord

I wouldn’t think he feels robbed – he remains world record holder, after all.. his natural peak would have placed him on the podium, I’m not at all sure that he would have won two world titles that year and he certainly would no have been 2sec faster per 100m and 4sec faster per 200m etc…


I remember vividly those 200 and 400 races in Rome as I was watching it live on TV.

My heart was racing so hard when Biedermann was swimming the last lap in 400 free, and for the first I was sure that Thorpe’s legendary WR would survived the shiny suit onslaught, but when Biedermann was accelerating towards to WR line, I got really worried. And my heart truly sank when he touched the wall and the clock said 3:40.07!!!
I mean, that must be the biggest joke ever played.

Bad Anon

The only athletes winning medals in “inferior/50%poly” suits were Phelps, Lochte, Spofforth and Coventry.

Bad Anon

*gold medals


Out of interest Craig, what specific tests were done on Thorpe’s full body suits when he broke world records?

Craig Lord

Lots… don’t have time to go into it right now, Matthew

Australian swim fan

Bad Anon you have forgotten Libby Lenton who took a much published ethical stance against those suits.
On the point of Paul Biedermann, talk at the time (2009) and casual and not so casual observations suggest that these suits assisted some swimmers more than others, thus body type and build played a significant part in how much these suits helped individual athletes. The heavy built swimmers gained more out of the assisted buoyancy than slightly built swimmers – I think everyone above seem to ignoring this variable



Actually, since Thorpe started wearing his Adidas textile bodysuits, his rate of improvement slowed down. And this was at his prime.

Remember, Thorpe broke 7 worlds records in banana hammock/budgie smuggler at the age of 16/17.

If only Thorpe had taken Speedo as his sponsor and used the suits worn by Hackett, Phelps, etc… I believe he would have gone even faster.


Australia swimfan,

In 2008, libby trickett was on record defending the results of all of those WRs saying it was the swimmer who swam, not the suit. Google it.

And then in Rome, libby wore lzr to show her loyalty to speedo, but she got thrashed by the jet foil Adidas Britta Steffen.

So for the 4×100 Medley, she was pressured to wear 100% shiny suit as to not jeopardized Australia’s chances to win relay medals.

Australian swim fan

Exactly my point by Rome the old out model LZR suits were yesterday’s technology and Libby honoured her ethical obligation to Speedo. In the relay the issue was beyond individual ethics her obligation to her team mates rightly over rided her contracted responsibility to speedo. By Rome LZR suits were well and truely yesterday’s technology. And, overtly obvious to all very much slower than other suits eg Arena, witness Steffen’s jesture to Libby at the victory ceremony.

Paul Andrew

@aswimfan, agree with you. I even think there’s a chance that Thorpe’s full textile water permeable body suit slowed him down – given what we now know about suits and how it was the polyurethane material that made ALL the difference. There was a clear and marked ‘dose effect’ going from 100% textile to 50% poly to 100% impermeable poly.


Also actually, the only difference between the model of the suit that Thorpe wore compared to what Hackett, Phelps (in his 200 free Athens and Melbourne) wore was only arm-sleeves.

If the arm-sleeves had positive effect (made the suit faster), then why was almost nobody wearing the style?
Don’t tell me speedo didn’t make the cut/style, because they absolutely did.

There’s a reason breaststrokers wore only knee-length suit even at the height of shiny suit circus where you could wore anything you want: the ankle-length suit hinder the leg movement.
So was arm-sleeves suit for freestylers: they hinder arm movement.

The main reason Thorpe wore that suit was because Adidas deemed it had the most marketing impact, and especially on TV where it had the most visual impact.

The next revolution in swimsuit was clearly the FS 2 in 2007, witness all the WR spree in Melbourne, followed in the next year by of course LZR (although some claimed that improvement from pre-2007 suits to 2007 FS 2 was bigger than FS 2 to LZR).

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