Kaylee McKeown Drops 57.45 to Break Regan Smith’s World Record in the 100 Back

Swimming Australia Olympic Trials


  1. Kaylee McKeown (USCS) – 57.45
  2. Emily Seebohm (GUSC) – 58.59
  3. Mollie O’Callaghan (STPTET) – 58.86

Swimming in the final of the women’s 100 backstroke at the 2021 Australian Olympic Trials, 19-year-old Kaylee McKeown from USC Spartans broke the World Record of 57.57 set by Regan Smith at 2019 World Championships in Gwangju. McKeown cracked a 57.45 to take .12 off Smith’s mark. McKeown was out in 28.10 and back in 29.35, beating her previous PB of 57.63 from a month ago in Sydney.

It was an emotional win for McKeown who lost her father to cancer 10 months ago. She swam a disciplined race, getting off to a strong start, kicking 11 times off each wall and coming in with a perfect touch at the end. She led by nearly half a body length before taking her first stroke and was up by about 3/10 at the 50 wall. Her second 50 was almost a second faster than runner-up Emily Seebohm. Seebohm, who has been on the National Team since she was 14, was hoping to join Leisel Jones as the only Australian swimmers to compete at four Olympic Games. She pulled it off with a second-place finish of 58.59.

Smith had broken the WR leading off the USA’s 400 medley relay at World Championships with 57.57. She had gone out in 27.74 and come home in 29.83.

Comparative splits:

  Regan Smith, 2019 Kaylee McKeown, 2021
1st 50 27.74 28.10
2nd 50 29.83 29.35
  57.57 57.45

2020-2021 LCM Women 100 Back

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1 month ago

an absolute legend. what a great swim. had me on my feet cheering at 3am (I’m on U.S. time haha)

1 month ago

The US will win 0 relays in Tokyo. Only individual gold medalists may be Ryan Lochte or Simone Manuel.

Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

I wonder if Vegas has odds that the US gets just one gold medal and it happens to be long-shot Ryan Lochte.

Last edited 1 month ago by TheloniusPunk
Reply to  TheloniusPunk
1 month ago

There is probabily a bet of that and on the same race 3 guys are dq

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  TheloniusPunk
1 month ago

If that happens the bettor wins every hotel on the Strip

Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

Obvious troll. Still fewer downvotes than the most innocent BoBo Gigi post. Maybe Milak beats Dressel in the fly (doubtful) but no way King also loses.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago

this is 2021, not 2011

Reply to  Notanyswimmer
1 month ago


1 month ago

the americans right now are feeling envy

Reply to  Nic
1 month ago

Nah I’m feeling excited! Who doesn’t love fast swimming?

Philip Johnson
1 month ago

That WR was inevitable. Great on her.

And wow Seebohm! I thought she was done, but proved me wrong.

Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

Yeah, 58.5 is fantastic and any other year it would have put the world on notice, she just happened to do it now. Really happy for her, though.

1 month ago

Wow, I said it earlier, but it is going to take a 56 to win gold, and that might still get you second

M d e
Reply to  SwimCoachSean
1 month ago

The only person who might be capable of 56 is Kaylee.

Reply to  M d e
1 month ago

that sounds like an insecure australian desperate to see an american fail

Reply to  M d e
1 month ago

Possibly, though we will know by next week, it is exciting no matter what cause all the athletes are crushing it!

Reply to  SwimCoachSean
1 month ago

Plausible, but far from a done deal. McKeown certainly does have a few areas she could clean up but, whilst I can agree 56 looks like it could be in range for her, its far from given it will be in Tokyo.

Lets see what the Americans produce, and whether they have anyone potentially testing that mark, before making those kind of pronouncement.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

That statement was also made in 2012 😉

Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

Ancient History.

1 month ago

The title says Kylee 😉 think you mean kaylee

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Pez
1 month ago

Get some scientists to combine the freestyle DNA of Kyle Chalmers and the backstroke DNA of Kaylee McKeown.

Chuck in the dancing DNA of Kylie Minogue and you might have the perfect human 😮

Corn Pop

Dance? Kylie only ever had to cross a road in Paris in a pair of jeans to be wow. That video was magic.

Old Man Chalmers

this was obviously a fusion of kaylee mckeown and kylie masse, two backstrokers with tremendous closing speed. kylee mckeown will open in 28.3, then even split it in tokyo

Last edited 1 month ago by Old Man Chalmers

Nah Caeleb and sjostrom would make the super swimmer

1 month ago

Shots FIRED with the new world record line

Reply to  Yeslie
1 month ago

And just think – that world record was stuck at 58.12 for just over 8 years. Now it’s been beaten 6 times by 5 different women.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Ben
1 month ago

8 times

57.45 mckeown
57.57 smith
57.63 mckeown
57.93 mckeown
58.00 baker
58.08 dawson
58.10 masse
58.11 mckeown
58.12 spofforth

Hint of Lime
1 month ago

Did a double-take when I blearily checked SwimSwam this morning (US/EST). Wow. Olympics will be a great race!!

About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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