Indiana freshman Lilly King split 25.92 on the 200 medley relay on day 1 of the 2016 Big Ten Championships, a time believed to be the third-best 50 breast split of all-time.
The only other swimmer we could find under 26 seconds in the stroke was USC’s Kasey Carlson, who went 25.78 at NCAA’s in 2014.
Update: Tennessee’s Molly Hannis also has a 25.88 split on record from USA Swimming’s AT&T Winter Nationals in 2013, not an NCAA meet per se, but a meet that took place while she was an NCAA swimmer for the Vols. We’ve updated this article accordingly.
King’s split essentially won the Big Ten title for the Hoosiers, outsplitting all other breaststrokers by eight tenths of a second or more. On top of that, her relay exchange was fairly pedestrian at 0.28 seconds, meaning she found most of her speed in the pool rather than on the exchange.
A few of the other top 50 breaststroke splits we’ve run across, for comparison: Tennessee’s Molly Hannis split 26.06 at SECs last year, and Texas A&M’s Breeja Larson (the current American record-holder in the 100 breast) was as fast as 26.21 at NCAAs in 2014, the same year Carlson had her big split.
King’s 25.9 would have been the fastest split at last year’s NCAA meet by half a second. King swam her mid-season rest meet in long course meters, so it’s hard to project where she ranks nationwide in the 100. But she was 1:00.05 just last month in a dual meet, and has been a blazing 1:06.43 in long course meters.