Liz Pelton Breaks Her Own American Record in 200 Backstroke

Last night at the Winter National Championships, Missy Franklin came within .02 seconds of Elizabeth Pelton’s American Record in the 200 backstroke.

Maybe feeling that the record was on the ropes and that she’d like to hold on to it for a while longer, Pelton swam a 1:48.90 to knock a few tenths off of her old record of 1:49.16 that was set at the 2011 Maryland Senior Champs meet in March of that year.

Franklin will join Pelton at Cal next season, creating a training group that includes the two best yards 200 backstrokers in American history. If Natalie Coughlin continues training at Cal, one could argue that this group with Cindy Tran and Rachel Bootsma would have 5 of the 6 best backstrokers to ever race in a 25 yard pool.

To make this record happen, Pelton split, by 100, almost the same as her old record; the difference in strategy came as she seemed to pull off ever-so-slightly on her third 50 and then tore her way home on the last 50.

Comparative splits:

Pelton ’11 – 26.13, 27.45, 27.69, 27.88 – 1:49.16
Pelton ’12 – 26.08, 27.44, 27.98, 27.40 – 1:48.90

Which American Record from this past weekend was the most impressive?

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8 years ago

incredible team that would be !! OMGGGGGG

8 years ago

Imagine if there were backstroke relays. Wow!!!!

8 years ago

Safe to say the hoopla over techsuits was overblown. Records falling everywhere. what say you?

Reply to  Laneline
8 years ago

The impact of tech suits is THE reason we’re seeing these super-fast times now. Those polyurethane-sheathed performances stayed in the record books, resetting the bar where no one had imagined it before. The leap in performance that the suits created opened our minds up to the another level and provided the new targets to strive for. We’ve seen it over and over again—the seemingly impossible becomes routine. Why are we surprised?

Reply to  fluidg
8 years ago

That’s a great statement. It’s true. Speak some more truth to the group.

Reply to  Laneline
8 years ago

Did the w200im, w50free, w100free, w200free, w400free, w200fly, w100breast, m50free, m100free, m200free, m400free, m100back, m200back, m100fly, m200fly, m200IM, m400IM, WRs fall in London?

Yeah, that’s right.

Reply to  Laneline
8 years ago

Only had one season of the LZRs in college. Largely missed out on the 2nd generation suits through March of 2009, they were eliminated from the fall semester of 2009 in advance of FINA’s expected techsuit prohibition.

Reply to  Laneline
8 years ago

Safe to say we won’t ever see 250 world records broken in 18 months ever again. My #¤$k is overblown

8 years ago

Women’s NCAAs will be straight-up nuts the next few years.

8 years ago

I’m not sure that the tech suit debate applies to this race because Coughlin swam 1:49.52 in 2002.

s gomez
8 years ago

so, maybe this is trolling, but anyone think liz looks hot in this picture?

Reply to  s gomez
8 years ago

Plead the fifth. Actually guilty as charged.

John Sampson
8 years ago

She defiantly was the star of the meet, her and missy will be incredible training partners. I think Elizabeth could possibly win 3 events at NCAAs this year, she is incredibly talented and if I were the rest of the country I would be worried in the 200 IM and especially the 200 back (could we see a 1:47?? Crazy!)

Reply to  John Sampson
8 years ago

Which Elizabeth? Pelton or Beisel? 😉

bobo gigi
8 years ago

Congrats to Miss Pelton! I continue to think her future, on an international view, is more on IM races. She has swum 1.48.90, faster than Missy who was in 1.49.18 in Austin. We can see the short course effect. In long course Elizabeth is more than 3 seconds behind Missy. And yes, Natalie Coughlin has swum 1.49.52 in 2002 and she hasn’t been a great 200 back swimmer. Long course and short course are definitely not the same sport. Perhaps with much work with the Cal backstroke industry on her starts, her turns and her underwaters, Missy will swim 1.46 before the end of her collegiate career. We’ll see.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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