Linnea Mack Breaks Through With First Sub-54 100 Free At 25


Linnea Mack is peaking at the perfect time.

Competing in the women’s 100 freestyle during the first preliminary session from the 2021 Pro Swim Series stop in Indianapolis, Mack dropped a lifetime best of 53.78 to qualify first for the final, marking her first time under the 54-second barrier at the age of 25.

A former UCLA Bruin in the NCAA, the 2020-21 campaign marks Mack’s fourth season since graduating college. After placing 20th in the 100 backstroke at the 2016 Olympic Trials, Mack failed to final at both the 2017 World Championship Trials and 2018 U.S. Nationals.

Things started to turn a corner in 2019, however, as she reset her best times in the 100 free (54.78) and 100 fly (58.87) at the U.S. Championships at Stanford, which led her into competing for the LA Current (2019) and DC Trident (2020) in the International Swimming League.

Now, Mack appears to be rounding into top form exactly one month out from the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Racing at a Coronado Swim Association Time Trial on April 24, Mack swam the two fastest 100 frees of her life, hitting times of 54.06 and 54.19 to lower that old best of 54.78. Mack also swam her two quickest 50 frees ever at the meet, including breaking 25 seconds for the first time (24.85).

In Indy, Mack slammed down a time of 53.78 in the 100 free, earning her the first seed for tonight’s final by over half a second.

The performance puts her into a tie for 20th in the world this season, but also ranks her fourth among Americans.

While there are a multitude of women capable of going 53-high that will be vying for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in the 400 free relay, Mack’s prelim swim certainly puts her right in the thick of the conversation, when previously she would’ve been considered being more on the outside looking in.

It required a time of 53.92 to finish sixth in the women’s 100 freestyle final at the 2016 Trials. Since the beginning of 2018, now including Mack, 10 American women have broken 54 seconds (including the now-retired Margo Geer, who won’t be competing at Trials).

U.S. Rankings, Women’s 100 Freestyle, Jan.1, 2018 – Present

  1. Simone Manuel, 52.04 – 2019
  2. Mallory Comerford, 52.94 – 2018
  3. Abbey Weitzeil, 53.18 – 2019
  4. Erika Brown, 53.42 – 2019
  5. Margo Geer, 53.44 – 2018
  6. Torri Huske, 53.46 – 20
  7. Gretchen Walsh, 53.74 – 2019
  8. Linnea Mack, 53.78 – 2021
  9. Allison Schmitt, 53.80 – 2020
  10. Lia Neal, 53.95 – 2018

Mack will certainly be one to watch in tonight’s 100 free final, along with her other events for the remainder of the meet (50 free, 100 back, 100 fly).

Competing at the Swim Open Stockholm in early April, Mack produced times of 1:02.02 in the 100 back and 59.41 in the 100 fly, both within striking distance of her best times (1:01.52, 58.87). And given the fact that she was over a full second faster in the 100 free on Thursday morning than she was in Stockholm (54.87), some big swims appear to be on the horizon.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Katie meili had a breakthrough at the same age, bronze in Rio as well as relay gold and silver in Budapest (help the Americans sweep the top 2) with a relay gold as well

Reply to  Swimfan
1 year ago

And she has the fastest breaststroke split of the medley relay in Rio and she did that in the heats! Truly amazing breakthrough

1 year ago

Love to see this – a breakthrough at age 25. Exciting stuff

Reply to  swimgeek
1 year ago

Figured she would after a great ISL season

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 …

Read More »