Claire Curzan Swims America’s Fastest 200 Yard Backstroke Since 2019 With A 1:47.34

by Ben Dornan 14

February 25th, 2023 College, National, News, Pac-12, Records


In her last event of the meet at the 2023 Pac-12 Championships, Stanford’s Claire Curzan took out the meet record in the 200 backstroke with a 1:47.34. By swimming that time, she became the fastest woman in the country since 2019 when Regan Smith swam a 1:47.16.

As the top-ranked swimmer in the nation and the NCAA this season, Curzan will enter as the top seed at the NCAA Championships next month if she elects to race this event.

Regan Smith‘s American record of 1:47.16 comes from 2019, while her quickest time since joining the Stanford squad is a 1:47.76 from the 2022 NCAA Championships. Beata Nelson‘s number two time and Kathleen Baker‘s number three come from the 2019 and 2018 NCAA Championships, respectively.

All-Time Performances – Women’s 200-Yard Backstroke

  1. Regan Smith – 1:47.16 (2019)
  2. Beata Nelson – 1:47.24 (2019)
  3. Kathleen Baker – 1:47.30 (2018)
  4. Claire Curzan – 1:47.34 (2023)
  5. Taylor Ruck – 1:47.59 (2019)
  6. Regan Smith – 1:47.76 (2022)
  7. Regan Smith – 1:47.81 (2021)
  8. Elizabeth Pelton – 1:47.84 (2013)

This swim by Curzan is also the fourth-fastest SCY 200 backstroke in history, replacing Taylor Ruck‘s 1:47.59 from the 2019 NCAA Championships.

Her time improved upon Kathleen Baker‘s 1:48.27 Pac-12 Championships record that she swam for Cal in 2018. Curzan was the only one in the field under 1:48 as Cal’s Isabelle Stadden placed second with a 1:48.75 and teammate Annika McEnroe placed third in a 1:52.75.

With the 200 backstroke victory, she pulled off the backstroke sweep at Pac-12s, having also won the 100 earlier in the meet with a 49.46. She was the second seed heading into the 100 butterfly final but then disqualified in the final.

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1 month ago

But Meehan ruins his swimmers or so I’ve been told. I don’t know if you guys saw the interview after the 100 back she said she was surprised by her time and she meant that in a good way so she has a little more to give for next month.

Last edited 1 month ago by Taa
1 month ago

well, if you were wondering what she’s capable of in the short pool….

Eddie Rowe
Reply to  Chris
1 month ago

Given that she’s the national high school holder in the 100 back and 100 fly, wondering that would make you pretty uninformed.

Demarrit Steenbergen
1 month ago

Liz pelton still on the list🤯

eye guy
Reply to  Demarrit Steenbergen
1 month ago

I think people forget how good that Liz Pelton swim was. She Coughlin’ed the field. No one else was under 1:50

1 month ago

Her 1back LC is solid, but if she translates this 2back to LC, the event will become just as much of a blood bath as the 1. Looking forward to seeing what Regan does at the Lauderdale PSS next weekend.

1 month ago

2back, 1back, and 1fly is probably her NCAA lineup right? Or maybe dropping the 1fly for the 50 free day 1, or even doing the 200 fly/200 back double given that the 200 fly is probably the weakest event compared to the 50 free and 100 fly- her 200 fly PB could probably win the event but she’d place like 4th in the other 2 events. That is a really rough double though so maybe not

Last edited 1 month ago by jeff
Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

Yeah I don’t think she’s going for the 2fly. Has she swam it this year? I think you’re right with 1back/fly and 2back.

bella sims #1 stan
Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

She went 1:54.0 at ASU

Aaron Ciarla
Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

Yeah I don’t think she would make the podium over the 3 Texas girls and her teammate Charolette Hook has always been better then her at the 200 fly

Reply to  jeff
1 month ago

Ask Indiana’s Brendan Burns about whether that double is doable: 1:38.22 to win the Big Ten 200 Back with #1 time in country, followed by winning the 200 Fly in 1:39.51, moving past Leon Marchand’s 1:39.57; Burns won the NCAA 200 Fly last year when doing it as a single, after doubling the same strokes at the 100 distance the day before.

Thus Claire has an example if she wants to follow it.

1 month ago

Congrats to Claire!

This event across the board has puzzled me from a time perspective. Elizabeth Pelton was the first to go a 147 in 2013 and with all the great american backstrokers, no one has broken that barrier. I thought Missy would do it, then i thought it’d be Kathleen Baker or Regan, but they both went pro. Hopefully Claire will be the first to go 146!

Last edited 1 month ago by Ervin
Reply to  Ervin
1 month ago

Yes, that’s a lot of people going within .7 of one another in the span of a decade. I think we are primed for a breakthrough!

1 month ago

Regan Smith swam that 1:47.1 against Curzan back in 2019! Curzan went 1:52 if I recall (she was 14 then). Time flies!