The all-time fastest 100 yard breaststroker in history is not Rebecca Soni. It’s not Jessica Hardy. It’s not either of the Kirk Sisters. In fact, the record is now held by a swimmer who is still not on the tongues of most in the swimming community. Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson continued the incredible run of records on day 2 at the 2012 NCAA women’s Champions by breaking the American, U.S. Open, and NCAA Records in the 100 breaststroke with a 57.71.
This is a swimmer who three years ago as a senior in high school was totally anonymous in swimming nation-wide. Her well-told story of not beginning to train seriously until her senior year of high school makes this record, and her rocket to the top, that much better. What she has working in her favor internationally is her height – she’s very tall for a breaststroker at nearly 6’1 (they’re usually tall, but not sprinter tall like Larson is).
That slid under Tara Kirk’s old American/U.S. Open Record of 57.77, that was set during her post-grad career in 2006. It also broke Larson’s 57.92 from the Big 12 Championship prelims. Kirk and Larson remain the only swimmers in history under 58-points in this event.
Larson is the third NCAA Champion in Texas A&M history, and the first swimmer to break an NCAA, American, or U.S. Open Record.
Note – officially the first – in 2008, Triin Aljand broke the NCAA record in the 50 free in 21.61, but this was the infamous short-pool race, where it was measured at just-over an inch short of an official 25 yards, and thus the record was disallowed.
Looking at the comparative splits, Larson took this race out extremely fast, and held on to the record at the end. She has seemed to lean towards the shorter breaststrokes this season, and will get her biggest push from Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz in the 200 (she didn’t swim the 100).
Kirk ’08 – 27.53, 57.77 (30.24)
Larson ’12 – 27.12, 57.71 (30.59)