Hunter Armstrong Blasts 23.71 To Take Out 50 Backstroke World Record

by Ben Dornan 47

April 28th, 2022 National, News


The 3rd night of finals at the 2022 US World Championships Trials featured a 50 backstroke world record-breaking swim from Hunter Armstrong. Armstrong threw down a 23.71 to take out the former world record of 23.80, which Kliment Kolesnikov set at the 2021 European Championships.

In addition to a world record, this is a new American and US Open record for Armstrong. Armstrong lowered both of those records during prelims with a 24.01 to take out Ryan Murphy’s 24.24 from back in 2018.

Prior to 2022 Trials, Hunter Armstrong had never been under 25 seconds in this event, having held a personal best of 25.51 from the Bloomington Pro Swim Series back in 2019.

With this win, Armstrong has qualified to race the event at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest this summer. Justin Ress placed second in the event with a 23.92, which makes him the third man in history to break the 24-second barrier after Kolesnikov and Armstrong.

All-time Men’s LCM 50 Backstroke Rankings

  1. Hunter Armstrong (USA) – 23.71 (2022)
  2. Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) – 23.80 (2021)
  3. Justin Ress (USA) – 23.92 (2022)
  4. Shaine Casas (USA) – 24.00 (2022)
  5. Liam Tancock (GBR) – 24.04 (2009)
  6. Camille Lacourt (FRA) – 24.07 (2010)
  7. Robert Glinta (ROM) – 24.12 (2018)
  8. Mark Nikolaev (RUS) – 24.23 (24.23)
  9. Ryan Murphy (USA) – 24.24 (2018)

Shaine Casas nearly crack that 24-second barrier with a third place swim of 24.00, while Ryan Murphy posted a 24.57 to trail his 24.24 PB.

Considering that he won the event, Armstrong has qualified to race the 50 backstroke in Budapest this summer, but the second entrant will be decided during the 100 backstroke. If someone other than Armstrong wins 100 backstroke they will get the second 50 backstroke spot on the team. The top seed in the 100 backstroke is world record-holder and multi-Olympic medalist Ryan Murphy.

Armstrong raced his way onto the Olympic team in the summer of 2021 and raced the 100 backstroke in Tokyo. He swam a 53.21 during semi-finals, tying Japan’s Ryosuke Irie for 9th overall. During the 2021-2022 NCAA season, Armstrong placed 5th in the 100 backstroke at NCAAs for Ohio State with a 44.42 in the final. He also raced the 100 freestyle and wound up in 16th place with a 41.92.

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7 months ago

He has been never under 25? And has split 23.71???? Not normal…

Reply to  DavidRR
7 months ago

Would be abnormal for an international. But remember: we’re coming out of a pandemic/ His best time in the 100 back going into the pandemic was 54.74 (he was just shy of 19), and the U.S. doesn’t swim long course 50 strokes anywhere near as much as other countries do.

His best 50 backstrokes previously were mostly splits en route to the 100. His most recent flat-start 50 LCM back was July 2019. He’s cut 2.15 seconds off his best 50 yard back (which is more common as the 200 medley relay leadoff, which is an event at both the HS and NCAA level) in that same time period.

Old Bruin
7 months ago

Ryan Murphy does not take Emgality….yet

7 months ago

Murphy : Finally Russians are out
Armstrong : Hold my Vaccine

7 months ago

This is awesome! So glad to see 50s being added so we can she the speed of these athletes when rested!

Andy Hardt
7 months ago

This is now the second time that the SwimSwam ironic/serious “meme favorite” takes a huge, unexpected jump forward. First, Dean Farris became perhaps the best swimmer in the NCAA in 2019. Now Armstrong breaks a World Record. It’s the opposite of the photo curse.

7 months ago

Anyone else see Kolesnikov’s comment on the SwimmngStats Instagram post? Bit odd.

Reply to  YourLocalD3Swimmer
7 months ago

What did he say?

Reply to  Greg
7 months ago

The skull emoji. I take that as Kliment acknowledging that was a hell of a swim.

7 months ago

Usually in online circles the skull emoji is used for laughing, that’s why I thought it was odd.

Reply to  YourLocalD3Swimmer
7 months ago

“I’m dying” can be laughter, but we are talking about an Eastern European. If Ivan Drago taught us anything…

Fraser Thorpe
7 months ago

Yeah it means ‘dead’ as is ‘stunned – that was so amazing I’m dead’

Samuel Huntington
Reply to  Fraser Thorpe
7 months ago

Hunter responded “an absolute honor”
Sounds like they have big respect for each other!

7 months ago

wait so if he wins the 100 back too, does Ress get the second 50 spot?

Reply to  jeff
7 months ago

No, whoever gets second in the 100 back does. 2nd place in the 50 doesn’t qualify for the team

Reply to  iLikePsych
7 months ago

unless Ress is selected for the relay because he finished 6th in the 100 free, in which case he can swim the 50 back as well instead of whoever gets second in the 100 back.

Armstrong 100 back gold in Fukuoka
7 months ago

When you thought it’s finally Murphy’s year with the Russians out of Worlds.
MAGIC MAN: Hold my beers.