Matea Samardzic reset her own Croatian record in the 200 backstroke yesterday at Southern Zone South Sectionals, held in Orlando, FL.
This is the third time in 2016 that Samardzić has broken the Croatian record in the 200 backstroke. Compared to the mark she established in London at the European Championships in May, Samardzić was more conservative in the first 50 meters of the race and much stronger in the final 50.
- Samardzić, May 2016: 30.82 / 1:02.97 (32.15) / 1:35.95 (32.98) / 2:09.24 (33.29)
- Samardzić, July 2016: 31.28 / 1:03.93 (32.65) / 1:36.75 (32.82) / 2:09.11 (32.36)
Samardzić’s new time does not move her up in the world rankings, though it does serve as a tie-breaker for the 19th spot where both she and Great Britain’s Elizabeth Simmonds sat at 2:09.24. Though the first half of her race was nearly a full second slower than her record-setting pace in London, Samardzić split a 1:05.18 over the second 100 meters yesterday, compared to a 1:06.27 in London.
Samardzić, who had already qualified for the Olympics with her first FINA ‘A’ cut back in February at a competition in Croatia, will have a good shot at a swim in the semifinals in Rio. Though her new 2:09.11 only holds her at 19th overall, of the 18 swimmers faster than her this year, 5 are Australians, 4 are Americans, and 3 are Canadians, meaning that 6 of those 18 swimmers will not have the opportunity to race the 200 back in Rio.
Samardzić will be transferring to Southern Methodist University this fall after two years at St. Peter’s University.