Kaylee McKeown Scares 50 Backstroke World Record with 27.02 — 2nd-Fastest Swim of All Time


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Kaylee McKeown put a scare into the 50-meter backstroke world record on Friday, blazing a personal-best 27.02 that ranks as the second-fastest swim of all time behind Liu Xiang‘s 26.98 from 2018.

The 22-year-old Australian won the event by nearly a full second ahead of the Canadian duo of Ingrid Wilm (27.94) and Kylie Masse (27.95) at the second stop of the World Cup series in Athens, Greece.

McKeown was previously the third-fastest performer in history thanks to her previous-best 27.08 from her unprecedented backstroke sweep at the 2023 World Championships this summer, but now she has surpassed Zhao Jing‘s 27.06 from 2009 for the No. 2 spot while taking down her own Oceanian record along the way. She won the 50 back at the opening World Cup stop in Berlin with a time of 27.24, lowering Xiang’s mark of 27.35 from 2019. That world cup record only lasted a week before her latest lifetime best today.

McKeown boasted the quickest reaction time in the field at .54 seconds. Impressively, she has only been back in training for about a month after taking some time off post-Worlds.


  • World Record: 26.98 – Liu Xiang, China (2018)
  • World Cup Record: 27.24 – Kaylee McKeown, Australia (2023)
  • World Junior Record: 27.49 – Minna Atherton, Australia (2016)


Wilm also snagged silver in Berlin (27.75). Notably, last weekend’s bronze medalist, Maaike de Waard, faded to 7th, touching in 28.45.

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Hooked on Chlorine
7 months ago

Can’t wait to see what she has in store for us at the Australian Olympic swimming trials next year and, of course, in Paris itself.

7 months ago

It’s Kaylee’s world and we are all just living in it. Crazy consistently great swims

7 months ago

0.04 off becoming the first swimmer ever, male or female, to break all 3 LCM backstroke records. No one else has ever broken all 3 in their career, let alone held all 3 simultaneously. Backstroke GOAT

James Richards
Reply to  Sub13
7 months ago

She’s the backstroke queen.

Coach Winner
Reply to  Sub13
7 months ago

I believe Lenny Krayzelburg has broken almost all the backstroke world records (50-100-200 LCM and 2 SCM backstroke records). He was the “backstroke king” prior to Aaron Piersol’s arrival.

Also, he was a great GM for ISL’s LA Current 💯

Reply to  Coach Winner
7 months ago

Oh you’re right! I thought I checked but obviously missed this somehow. Well she could be the first female then

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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