Kathleen Dawson Breaks Down 100 Back European Record, Re-Swim for Gold


Reported by Ben Dornan.

Swimming the opening leg of the women’s 4×100 medley relay, Kathleen Dawson lowered the British and European 100 backstroke records to a 58.08. She took both marks from Gemma Spofforth, who held them at a 58.12 from her 2009 performance.

Spofforth set the former world record to win gold in the event at the 2009 World Swimming Championships. Dawson’s opening split was around 0.4 seconds quicker than was Spofforth went out but Spofforth brought it home quicker back in 2009 with a 29.41 closing 50 compared to Dawson’s 29.85.

Split Comparison

50M 100M
K. Dawson (2021 European Championships) 28.23 58.08 (29.85)
G. Spofforth (2009 World Championships) 28.71 58.12 (29.41)

Along with the British and European records, this swim for Dawson is also a new European Championships record, lowering it from her former mark of 58.44 from the semi-finals of the 100 backstroke. Dawson actually swam a 58.18 which would have again lowered the record during the 100 backstroke final but due to an error with the timing system, all times heat were canceled. The final was re-swum later in the meet and Dawson repeated the victory but swam a 58.49 for gold which was a touch slower than her semi-final swim of 58.49.

Women’s 100 Backstroke Final (Original Results – Cancelled)

  1. Kathleen Dawson (GBR), 58.18
  2. Kira Toussaint (NED), 59.01
  3. Maria Kameneva (RUS), 59.13

Women’s 100 Backstroke Final (Re-Swim – Official)

  1. Kathleen Dawson (GBR), 58.49
  2. Margherita Panziera (ITA), 59.01
  3. Maria Kameneva (RUS), 59.22

Dawson raced as a part of the British mixed 4×100 medley relay earlier on in the meet, contributing a 58.43 backstroke leg during the final. The British went on to win gold in the relay with a 3:38.82 which lowered their own championship record from a 3:40.18 set in 2018.

That gives Dawson a total of 5 sub-59 100 backstroke performance at just these championships alone:

Kathleen Dawson 100 Backstrokes at the 2021 European Championships

  1. Women’s 4×100 Medley Final: 58.08
  2. Women’s 100 Backstroke Final (#1): 58.18 (Unofficial)
  3. Mixed 4×100 Medley Final: 58.43
  4. Women’s 100 Backstroke Semi-Final: 58.44
  5. Women’s 100 Backstroke Final (#2): 58.49
  6. Women’s 100 Backstroke Prelim: 59.32

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About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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