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16 Jul 2024 21:27
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Swimming

    Regan Smith smashes Kaylee McKeown's 100m backstroke world record at USA Olympic Swimming Trials

    Kaylee McKeown goes from hunted to hunter at Paris 2024 Games after Regan Smith smashes her 100m backstroke world record at the US Olympic Trials.

    Kaylee McKeown said she was disappointed to come within 0.08 seconds of breaking her own 100m backstroke world record at the Australian Swimming Trials last week.

    Now she'll be doubly upset, after American Regan Smith smashed her previous record by 0.2 seconds at the US Swim Trials in Indianapolis on Tuesday (local time).

    It is the biggest drop in the record since Smith took 0.43 seconds off Kathleen Baker's time in 2019. 

    McKeown had said she was "nervous to see what she [Smith] does" at the US Trials, but it's unlikely that she would have anticipated such a huge jump from the 22-year-old American.

    It is the second world record to fall at the US Olympic Trials this week, after Gretchen Walsh broke the world record for the women's 100 metres butterfly.

    No record had been broken at the US Trials since 2008.

    "It was part of the plan," Smith told journalists after her swim of 57.13, beating Katharine Berkoff, who became the fifth woman to swim sub-58 seconds, into second place.

    Smith elaborated later, saying it had been a "long time coming" since she last broke the record in 2019 and that she felt a huge release when she hit the wall and saw the time. 

    "Just like, f*** yeah," Smith said. 

    "I was just psyched out of my mind.

    "There were many years that went by where I thought would never do that ever again. I'm really, really happy I finally started to believe in myself."

    McKeown had swum seven of the fastest times in history since Smith first broke the world record at the 2019 World Championships.

    But, for the first time since she broke the record at the 2021 Olympic Trials, McKeown will be forced to be the hunter.

    "I'm excited for the battle that we will have in Paris," McKeown said in Brisbane.

    It seems she has every reason to be.

    "I've always had it physically, but I didn't have it mentally," Smith, who won bronze in the event in Tokyo, behind gold medallist McKeown and Canadian Kylie Masse. 

    "I just didn't have it up here," she added, pointing to her head.

    "When I was a teenager, I had not done much. There was no pressure on me. I was always the youngest. No one expected much from me. I could go into it fearless.

    "Now tonight, I'm in a much different place in my life. I'm a lot older. The pressure is different. The expectations are different.

    "I've had a lot of lows, but it's taught me a lot."

    McKeown came desperately close to breaking three world records at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre.

    On night one, McKeown was just 0.51 seconds behind the long-standing world record of Katinka Hosszu in the 200m medley, before coming within 0.08 seconds of her own 100m backstroke mark the following night.

    Then, on the fourth night of competition, McKeown was again a fraction off, just 0.16 seconds behind her 200m backstroke world record.

    Coach Michael Bohl said McKeown was "disappointed with the execution" of her 100m swim in Brisbane.

    "The first 50 was around about where we thought she should be, but just the way she did it was just a little rushed," he said.

    "When you sit down and examine why, it's very easy to see. 

    "It's a good time to learn those things here and make those mistakes here on the road to Paris.

    "This is sort of about sharpening the axe, I think, this meet, isn't it?"


    © 2024 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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