18-Year-Old Isaac Cooper Sets New Australian Record With 24.44 50 Back


With a blazing 24.44 in the 50 back finals on Day 3 of the Australian Trials, 18-year-old Isaac Cooper won the Australian title while becoming the youngest current Australian Record holder in the process. The sprint specialist snapped Ben Treffers‘ previous National Record of 24.54 set back in 2014.

Cooper lifted his arms in celebration after seeing his record-breaking time, but he didn’t seem surprised in his post-race interview.

“I know it’s not an Olympic event, but I’ve just been pushing that event all the time and I’ve known that I’ve been able to go under that record time,” said Cooper, who improved upon his previous best of 24.59 from December’s Queensland Championships. “I’m just relieved that I’ve finally managed to go under it and that my name’s in that book now.”

Cooper’s time ranks as the fifth-fastest in the world during the 2021-22 season and also ties him for 19th all-time in the event.

2021-2022 LCM Men 50 Back

23.71 (WR)
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All-Time Australian Performers, Men’s 50 Backstroke (LCM)

  1. Isaac Cooper, 24.44 – 2022
  2. Ben Treffers, 24.54 – 2014
  3. Mitch Larkin, 24.63 – 2015
  4. Ashley Delaney, 24.81 – 2009
  5. Daniel Arnamnart, 24.83 – 2009

He was the only sub-25 swimmer in the field as Ben Armbruster (25.13) and Bradley Woodward (25.35) rounded out the podium. Cooper won’t automatically qualify for the World Championships because the 50 back is not a selection event, but this swim might get him consideration. He placed third in the 50 free and 50 fly on Days 1 and 2, respectively.

Cooper can still guarantee himself a spot at the World Championships next month in Budapest, Hungary. He’s seeded second in the 100 back (53.43), behind Olympic finalist Mitch Larkin (52.75) and .54 seconds ahead of the third-seeded Woodward.

At last year’s Olympic Trials, Cooper placed second behind Larkin in the 100 back to become the youngest Australian male headed to Tokyo at just 17 years old. His 53.49 was remarkable considering neither the 17- nor 18-year-old National Age Record was previously under 54.5. Cooper ended up making the semifinals of the 100 back in Tokyo before swimming in the heats of the 4×100 mixed medley relay team that took home a bronze medal.

Record-breaking performances aren’t exactly new for Cooper, who has been the fastest-ever Australian for his age in the 50 back since he was 11 years old. No other Australian teenager has ever broken the 25-second mark, a feat that Cooper is now making a regular occurrence. He first broke the 25-second barrier with a 24.69 at the Sydney Open last May.

Damien Jones, Cooper’s coach on the Rackley Swim Team, believes the sky is the limit for the rising star.

“He’s a ball of energy,” Jones said of Cooper. “He brings a lot of excitement to training every single day. You never quite know what you’re going to get, but he’s just a ball of energy every day. It’s infectious – it really is infectious. He’s very intelligent, and he challenges me every day to be the best coach I can be.  He’s a very fast learner… There is no ceiling for someone like that.”

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10 months ago

Awesome swim. I’m hoping Cooper is the next big 50-100 backstroker for Aus.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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