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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Katelyn Redwood
1 year ago

I can’t believe Kaylee McKeown was emotional after she broke Regan’s world record for the 100 meter backstroke.

1 year ago

Smith set the record almost 2 years ago at the age of 17. It’s reasonable to assume she has improved since then.

Reply to  Emerson
1 year ago

In this crazy world of lockdowns, no competition, limited access to pools etc…..no.

1 year ago

As someone who also lost their Father young—I feel every tear in this. Kaylee, you honor your Dads legacy so well and I have no doubt he’d be so proud of you. Have loved following your inspiring journey. You bring so much hope to all of us.🇦🇺🤍

Brien Gerber
1 year ago

Great swim! It looks like something was up with the touchpad at the 50. She was out well faster than 28.1. It looks more like a 27.5.

1 year ago

At this point, I just do not see Regan or anyone beating Kaylee in both backstroke events considering the kind of killer back-half speed she has. Regan usually tends to go out really fast and tries to hang on to the end but this strategy would not work against Kaylee who can close like a freight train. Unless Regan changes her tactic(which I honestly do not see happening), it is safe to say Kaylee will be a huge favorite in both 100 and 200 back.

Reply to  Jonathankkh
1 year ago

Precisely. Smith has been getting mowed down even domestically lately and now she’s gonna be up against the most elite second half backstroker in history…I also do not think that we’re seeing anything short of just the beginning of McKeown’s assault on the record books- I think it’s gonna be a pretty epic career for her

Last edited 1 year ago by swimfast
Reply to  swimfast
1 year ago

You guys are funny. You’ve obviously watched like three of Regan’s races, and ignored the context in which they occurred.

This was a great swim by McKeown, and I expect that she’ll be even faster in Tokyo, but she won’t touch the wall first in either backstroke.

1 year ago

GREAT Swim!!!!!

1 year ago

what did I just wake up to

Caeleb’s left suit string
1 year ago

That underwater was MONSTROUS

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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