Josh Liendo Lowers His Own 50 Freestyle Canadian Record to 21.48, 4th in World This Season


The stands had only just quieted after Finlay Knox‘s 200 IM Canadian record when Josh Liendo stepped on the blocks for the men’s 50 freestyle final.

21.48 seconds later, there was a new Canadian record on the books. Liendo took down his own Canadian record of 21.61 by .13 seconds as he added another event to his Olympic schedule. It also gave him a sweep of the sprint freestyle events at the 2024 Canadian Trials; he already won the 100 free and matched his personal best (47.55) to secure his seat on the plane to Paris this summer.

It’s Liendo’s first personal best in the event in two years, since he swam 21.61 at the 2022 World Championships. It’s a bit of a breakthrough for Liendo as prior to this swim, all of the five fastest performances of his career in this event came in 2022. In 2023, his season best was 21.80, swum at Canadian Trials.

“[I’ve] been working a lot on that event and it’s good to see, you know, that time on the board. So I’m happy with it,” Liendo said immediately after his race.

Not only is the time a new Canadian record, but it also launches Liendo up the world rankings. He swam a 21.72 in prelims which put him tied for 11th. Now with this swim, he’s moved up into 4th place in the world this season. Only Cameron McEvoy, Ben Proudand Vladyslav Bukhov have been faster. And both McEvoy and Bukhov’s times were done at the 2024 World Championships.

2023-2024 LCM Men 50 Free

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Liendo has slowly climbed up the ranks in this event. At the Tokyo Games, he finished 18th, missing semifinals. Then, in 2022, he finished 5th while setting that former national record. At the 2023 World Championships, Liendo made semifinals but ended up withdrawing to focus on the 100 butterfly (where he eventually won silver).

That conflict between the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly will still be there in Paris. On Day 7, the 50 freestyle final comes three events before the 100 butterfly semifinals. We’ve seen that double done before, including by Liendo’s training partner Caeleb Dressel.

Liendo and his coaches have some time before they have to make that decision. But it’s clear that Liendo feels that even after swimming a new national record, he’s capable of bringing that standard even lower.

After the race, he told CBC’s Devin Heroux “there’s still more there.”

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Dan tm
28 days ago

21.3 or higher wont medal in Paris

Greg P
Reply to  Dan tm
28 days ago

Of course.

28 days ago

He’s ready to go 49 in the fly

28 days ago

Liendo will take the 50 in paris

Reply to  KSW
28 days ago

Will take the 50 free bronze medal

Reply to  KSW
28 days ago

He wont beat McEvoy

Reply to  kevin
28 days ago

I remember when similar things were getting said about Ben proud and his in season 21.11. didn’t age so well…

Greg P
Reply to  KSW
28 days ago

Splash and dash is much more unpredictable than other events.

In recent years, only Dresel at his absolute best and peak years were more easily predicted.

Reply to  Greg P
28 days ago

Everyone says that the 50 is unpredictable and a crapshoot. False. Typically the best win. Very rarely do the top swimmers at the big meets mess up their start, breakout, or finish.

Z Tech
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
28 days ago

In 2022 the suggestion that McEvoy would be scaring Dressels textile WR would have been laughed at. Then in 2023 that some Ukrainian no one had heard off would upset McEvoy next year would have been seen as some weird fantasy. In 2015, that geriatric Anthony Ervin would beat the then textile WR holder Manaudou was pretty out there. In 2012 some french dude with a PB of 21.95 heading into the games was not at all a medal favorite. I have no idea where this ridiculous notion the 50 is hard to predict comes from either

Last edited 28 days ago by Z Tech
Greg P
Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
28 days ago

You didn’t watch 2012 London, 2016 Rio, 2023 Fukuoka, and 2024 Doha, did you?

Last edited 28 days ago by Greg P
Steve Nolan
Reply to  Greg P
28 days ago

None of those were any more “unpredictable” than other events.

“You didn’t watch 2016 Rio 200 breast 2021 Tokyo 400 free did you?”

Greg P
Reply to  Steve Nolan
28 days ago

I was responding to this comment:

“Everyone says that the 50 is unpredictable and a crapshoot. False. Typically the best win. Very rarely do the top swimmers at the big meets mess up their start, breakout, or finish.”

The meets that I mentioned all had surprise 50 free winner.

While Art said it’s 50 free is predictable.

Last edited 28 days ago by Greg P
Reply to  KSW
28 days ago

Cam mcveoy is still favourite.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  mahmoud
28 days ago

Eh, 50 free is weird. Unless it is peak Dressel, anything can happen.

About Sophie Kaufman

Sophie Kaufman

Sophie grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, which means yes, she does root for the Bruins, but try not to hold that against her. At 9, she joined her local club team because her best friend convinced her it would be fun. Shoulder surgery ended her competitive swimming days long ago, …

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