Bama’s Rhyan White Smashes SEC Conference Record with 50.0 100 Back


Swimmers geared up for the 100 back final on day 4 of the 2020 SEC Championships. In prelims, Alabama’s Rhyan White had tied the SEC Meet Record.

She blew that away in the final as she became the 8th fastest performer in history. White dominated the race, flipping in 23.95 en route to a 50.02 victory. The former SEC Meet Record of 50.46 was set in 2009 by Florida’s Gemma Spofforth, who went on to become a World Champion and held the 100 back World Record in long course for several years.

That swim by Spofforth was also the former SEC all-meets record in the event.

Comparative Splits:

1st 50 2nd 50 Total Time
White 23.95 26.07 50.02
Spofforth 24.76 25.70 50.46

There are likely 2 things in play here with the split differentials. For one, Spofforth was at the time the country’s best 200 backstroker, later setting the U.S. Open Record in that event at the same meet, which lends itself to a better closing split.

The other is that Spofforth was wearing a now-outlawed polyurethane suit, which likewise lent themselves to better closing splits.

Later that summer, Spofforth went on to win the World Championship in the 100 back in long course meters.


Place Swimmer Time
1 Beata Nelson 49.18
2 Regan Smith 49.66
3 Ally Howe 49.69
4 Kathleen Baker 49.80
5 Janet Hu 49.93
6 Natalie Coughlin 49.97
7 Courtney Bartholomew 50.01
8 Rhyan White 50.02
9 Rachel Bootsma 50.03
10 (TIE) Olivia Smoliga/Maggie MacNeil 50.04

White’s best time coming into the meet was a 51.12 done at the mid-season Georgia Tech Invitational. A member of the 2018 U.S. Youth Olympic Games team before arriving at Alabama, White has shown steady improvement in her 3 seasons in Tuscaloosa across 2 coaching staffs. Coming out of high school, her best time in the 100 back was a 52.81. She improved that to 52.08 as a freshman and then lurched forward with this 52.0 on Friday.

This follows on White’s 2nd-place finish in the 100 fly in 50.80 on Thursday, where she finished behind only an American Record from Tennessee’s Erika Brown. White’s time in the 100 fly also broke the Alabama Pool Record.

That marks White’s first ever individual SEC title. To win tonight’s race, she outswam All-Americans Asia Seidt of Kentucky and Sherridon Dressel of Florida. Dressel went a lifetime best 50.64, while Seidt was a nail off her best in 50.73. White leads the SEC in the 200 back as well this season. She’ll race for a sweep of the backstrokes tomorrow.

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3 years ago

Fantastic swim by White.
Shouldn’t Macneil be tied for 10th after the relay?

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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