This morning, Olivia Smoliga took down the old Pan Ams record previously held by Rachel Bootsma of the USA, but tonight it was all Etiene Medeiros of Brazil, proving that she’s not just a drop dead sprinter. She turned first at the 50 mark and held on, despite her background as a pure 50 freestyler/backstroker, winning gold in 59.61 which set a new Pan Am Games record as well as a South American and Brazilian record.
Here’s a look at her splits:
Prelims: 29.68/31.06 = 1:00.74
Finals: 29.10/30.51= 59.61
Smoliga’s record of 1:00.35 only lasted a few hours (though her 1:00.06 for silver tonight was under that as well), as the seasoned Brazilian became the first female swimmer from the continent of South America to break a minute in the 100 backstroke. She also is the South American record holder in the 50 free, and is the world record holder in the 50 back.
Before Medeiros’ fantastic swim, the fastest 100 backstroker from Brazil, and South America for that matter, was Fabíola Molina, who set the old SA and Brazilian record of 1:00.07 back at the 2009 Rome World Championships.
With that swim, Medeiros has vaulted herself from ranking outside of the top 25 in the world to the #6 fastest time this year behind #5 Katinka Hosszu.
Medeiros will race later this session, as she will be in lane 5 for the women’s 50 free A final.