Kaylee McKeown Blasts New World Record In Women’s 50 Backstroke – 26.86

2023 WORLD AQUATICS SWIMMING WORLD CUP – BUDAPEST

Kaylee McKeown now holds complete ownership of the long course world records in women’s backstroke.

During the opening night of the 2023 World Cup stop in Budapest on Friday, McKeown rocketed to a new world record in the women’s 50 back, clocking 26.86 to dismantle the previous mark that had been on the books for five years.

McKeown’s time took 12 one-hundredths of a second off the old record of 26.98, set by China’s Liu Xiang in 2018, which previously stood as the lone swim under the 27-second barrier.

McKeown showed she was on the type of form where the world record was well within reach last week, having logged the second-fastest time ever in 27.02 at the Athens leg of the World Cup.

Prior to that, the 22-year-old ranked #3 all-time in the event with her time of 27.08 from the 2023 World Championships, having leapfrogged China’s Zhao Jing (27.06) with her performance last week.

All-Time Performances, Women’s 50 Backstroke (LCM)

  1. Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 26.86 – 2023 World Cup – Budapest
  2. Liu Xiang (CHN), 26.98 – 2018 Asian Games
  3. Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 27.02 – 2023 World Cup – Athens
  4. Zhao Jing (CHN), 27.06 – 2009 World Championships
  5. Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 27.08 – 2023 World Championships
  6. Kira Toussaint (NED) / Regan Smith (USA), 27.10 – 2021 Eindhoven Qualification Meet / 2023 World Championships
  7. Fu Yuanhui (CHN) / Regan Smith (USA), 27.11 – 2015 World Championships / 2023 World Championships
  8. Katharine Berkoff (USA), 27.12 – 2022 U.S. International Team Trials

McKeown had a blazing-fast start, just like she did in Athens, recording the second-fastest reaction time in the field at 0.57 (she was 0.54 last week), and then pulled away from the field to secure victory by more than eight-tenths of a second.

With the win, McKeown completes the first of what could very well end up being three Triple Crown bonuses, with World Aquatics awarding a $10,000 bonus to a swimmer for winning the same event at all three stops of the World Cup.

McKeown also won the 50 back in Berlin in a time of 27.24, which was a World Cup Record at the time before she lowered in Athens and once again here in Budapest. The Aussie also won the 100 back and 200 back at the first two stops, and is all but locked in as the overall series winner.

The world record gives McKeown ownership of all three women’s backstroke world records in the long course pool. She set the women’s 100 back mark of 57.45 at the 2021 Australian Olympic Trials, and took hold of the record in the 200 back this past March at the New South Wales Championships in 2:03.14. She also holds the SCM record in the 200 back at 1:58.94.

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Nick the biased Aussie
5 months ago

Looking forward to her going under 57 soon in the 100m back

Nick the biased Aussie
5 months ago

She’s just being Kaylee

Andy
5 months ago

After 2022 where she “only” got a bronze at the comm games (and tied 5th at worlds), I always assumed 50m wasn’t her thing because her back half has always been where she’s separated herself from the pack … but she’s sure proven me wrong in the last few months. Hasn’t lost a 100/200 race since 2019 and now she’s dominating the 50s too (more than 0.8s faster than the 2022 world champion no less)

Reply to  Andy
5 months ago

I feel like this is the cool thing that meets circuits like this or ISL provided – lots of racing in a short time, so athletes can get the chance for immediate implementation of race tweaks and get into a groove of racing certain events. Wish we had it more than once per year.

Hooked on Chlorine
5 months ago

Every day, in every way Kaylee is getting better and better!

James Richards
5 months ago

Didn’t Swimswam peanut gallery always say Australians can’t swim fast outside Australia?

What happened?

Hooked on Chlorine
Reply to  James Richards
5 months ago

Reality happened.

Troyy
5 months ago

Here I was thinking she’d sneak under the world record and she’s gone and destroyed it. I’d be interested to hear what her preparation has been like. Has she deprioritised 200 training in order to focus on speed? This year her 200 peaked in March when she was doing huge volume and her speed is peaking at World Cups when her 200 is not as fast as usual. Excited for her 100.

Andy
Reply to  Troyy
5 months ago

She had a rest after world champs so she wouldn’t have done the cardio yet. It’s always easier to sprint when you haven’t done the kms (look at Sjostrom and Peaty being much better in the 50s then the 100s despite being WR in both). Plus the 200back is on the third day and comes after she’s done 2 x 200m heats that morning

I don’t think she’s in 2:03 form but I think if she was more rested she could pop a 2:04 high

Sub13
Reply to  Andy
5 months ago

She’s skipping the 2IM at this stop so I suspect she will set another WCR in the 200 but will be surprised if she hits 2:04

Boomer
Reply to  Sub13
5 months ago

I think a 2:05 high

Jimmyswim
5 months ago

So we can put the whole ‘Kaylee can’t swim fast outside of Australia and Asia’ thing to rest now, right?

Miss M
Reply to  Jimmyswim
5 months ago

*sarcasm*
I particularly like the ‘she swims slower on major events’ narrative evidenced by swimming 0.07 off the world record in the second fastest time ever swam!

Andy
Reply to  Miss M
5 months ago

She was 0.02s off the WR in the Olympic final

BairnOwl
Reply to  Andy
5 months ago

Exactly what I said during a swimswam live before Coleman replied and said it was “still slower.” It seems it will take a hell of a lot to put the “Aussies swim slower outside Australia” thing to bed for good.

Miss M
Reply to  Andy
5 months ago

Miss type!

She is so good, it’s almost unbelievable.

Chris D
5 months ago

she seems like a good ambassador for the sport so i’m happy for her

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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