LONDON — Australia coach Michael Bohl said yesterday "three or four" swimming world records could fall at the London Olympics despite a ban on high-tech supersuits which stemmed a flood of fast times. Bohl, who also trains South Korea's Park Tae-Hwan, said American stars Ryan Lochte, Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin were possible record-breakers, along with Australian sprinter James Magnussen and China's Sun Yang.
"Maybe three or four, not too many. I think Lochte and Phelps could do it, Missy Franklin and James Magnussen in the freestyle have a chance, (but) not too many more," he said. Twenty-five records were set at the 2008 Beijing Olympics but new swimming marks have largely dried up since the drag-reducing, muscle-supporting polyurethane suits were outlawed at the start of 2010.
At last year's world championships in Shanghai, just two records fell — to Lochte in the men's 200m individual medley, and Sun in the men's 1500m — compared with a whopping 43 at the 2009 edition in Rome.
Bohl said London could see Germany's Paul Biedermann could break his own 400m freestyle record, set in a supersuit at the Rome world championships, while Sun and Park, the reigning Olympic champion, were also contenders.
"There are three people in that race who can break the world record. Paul Biedermann is one, Sun from China has gone 3:40.2," he said.
"Park Tae-Hwan has to take two seconds off his best to go under the record, Sun is much closer. But there are three people well and truly capable of breaking the world record."
Bohl added that Park, 22, had recovered mentally from last year's world championships, where he regained his 400m title but was left disappointed at not setting a new record.
"He was quite nervous after the worlds last year. He had a poor performance in Rome (in 2009). Being in Shanghai may have mentally knocked him round a bit but he is in a better frame of mind coming into this," said Bohl.
"He has to think about putting the best 400m he can together. If he can do his best, there is a chance of doing everything, breaking a world record and winning the race."