Kliment Kolesnikov Reclaims 100 Backstroke World Record In Blazing 48.58


Kliment Kolesnikov didn’t have the greatest start to the 2020 ISL season, but he sure is closing it out strong.

The 20-year-old Russian knocked a full three-tenths of a second off the world record in the men’s 100 backstroke leading off Energy Standard’s medley relay to conclude day of the league final, putting up a time of 48.58.

Kolesnikov’s swim smashes the previous record of 48.88, set by China’s Xu Jiayu in November of 2018, and takes out his European and Russian Records of 48.90 set in December 2017.

At the time, that swim broke the previous world record of 48.92 held by American Matt Grevers, and stood for 10 and a half months before Xu took it down.

Split Comparison

Kolesnikov has become known for his ability to close races out with a flourish, which really stands out in his splits from his old world record. He closed in roughly the same time here, but was almost three-tenths better on the front-half in 23.80. Compared to Xu, he makes all of his ground coming home.

Kolesnikov, 2017 WR Xu, 2018 WR Kolesnikov, 2020 WR
24.09 23.76 23.80
24.81 25.12 24.78
48.90 48.88 48.58

There have now been 10 swims in history under the 49-second barrier, with Kolesnikov being the only one to do so three times. Xu and another Russian, former world record holder Stanislav Donets, have done so twice.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 100 Backstroke (SCM)

Rank Swimmer Time Year
1 Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) 48.58 2020
2 Xu Jiayu (CHN) 48.88 2018
3 Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) 48.90 2017
4 Matt Grevers (USA) 48.92 2015
5 Nick Thoman (USA) 48.94 2009
6 Stanislav Donets (RUS) 48.95 2010
T-7 Stanislav Donets (RUS) 48.97 2009
T-7 Arkady Vyatchanin (RUS) 48.97 2009
9 Xu Jiayu (CHN) 48.98 2018
10 Kliment Kolesnikov (RUS) 48.99 2017

Also the world record holder in the long course 50 back, Kolesnikov had a slow start in Budapest, but has turned up the heat as the season has wore on. He was also joined by his coach inside the bubble mid-season.

Coming into the final he held the top time in the ISL in the 100 back at 49.16, done in Match 7.

The Energy Standard men ended up going under the world record (3:19.16) in the 400 medley relay, clocking 3:18.28, though it won’t officially hold up in the record books because the team featured swimmers from more than one nationality. The old record actually belongs to the Russian team, that featured Donets on the lead-off, from the 2009 Vladimir Salnikov Cup.

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Coach Mike 1952
3 years ago

He keeps pouring it on. Have been watching him swim for a few years now, he holds the water really well. Check out his 24.00 WR 50 LCM & then the last 25 in the video.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
3 years ago

Clarification – the last 25 in the video of his WR swim yesterday

3 years ago

Fantastic swim! He was out faster and back faster than his old best today, great to see him on top again. This entire meet has been mind-boggling. Kliment Kolesnikov is THE relay hero.

Grant Drukker
Reply to  swimfan210_
3 years ago

Don’t you mean relay master?

3 years ago

I’m not sure if this is just my American bias showing but whenever they call James Gibson a relay expert I find it a little annoying. When you have the best team is it that hard to put together the best relay? You don’t hear everyone talking about Frank Vogel when the Lakers have Lebron and Anthony Davis

3 years ago

Amazing swim

3 years ago

100 fly and 100 back WR’s both clipped by 0.30 seconds

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  PhillyMark
3 years ago

Not exactly clipping for a 100. They were demolished.

3 years ago

has anybody else ever split 24 on the second 50??!

Reply to  Anonymoose
3 years ago

I’m going out on a limb and saying no

Reply to  Anonymoose
3 years ago

he basically even split his WR when he went 48.9 and came back in a 24 as well. Most of his fast times this season were done 24.low-24.high, it’s nuts how good his second 50 is

Reply to  Dudeman
3 years ago

wow! thx for pointing it out

3 years ago

Absolute legend

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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