Liz Pelton Crushes U.S. Open Record in 200 Backstroke

The Cal freshman class has been the star of this meet, and after her teammate Rachel Bootsma was the second-best 100 back in history on Friday, Liz Pelton crushed the NCAA, American, and U.S. Open Records in the 200 backstrokes on Friday night.

Her final time of 1:47.84 broke the old NCAA/U.S. Open Record set by Florida’s Gemma Spofforth in 2009 at NCAA’s with a 1:48.34; Spofforth is British by birth, so Pelton held the old American Record from this year’s Pac-12 Championships with a 1:48.39.

The comparative splits show that Pelton went out much faster than Spofforth did in her record-breaking swim at the 2009 SEC Championships. Whereas Spofforth actually negative-split her race, by a lot, Pelton went out very hard in 53.05. Spofforth’s impressive back-half was probably, in small part at least, a function of the suit that she was wearing. The polyurethane suits allowed swimmers to stay down for a long time at the end of their races.

Spofforth ’09 26.22 28.39 26.71 26.92 1:48.34
Pelton ’13 25.93 27.12 27.41 27.38 1:48.39

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Philip Johnson

what an amazing swim! congrats to Pelton! Hopefully Pelton can translate this success to long course this summer & give Franklin a run for her money.


Can’t wait to see it on TV!


Just saw it on replay on approximately the 30 minute mark.

I can definitely deal with Pelton giving Franklin a run for her money!

bobo gigi

I like Miss Pelton and I knew she would swim 1.47 but Missy is a class apart. I know she is much better in long course and it’s a good thing for her international results, but with all the starts, turns and underwaters work she’ll do at Cal, she will improve very quickly her SCY times. I predict Missy at least in 1.46 before the end of her college career.


Another suit record bites the dust.

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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