Michael Taylor broke the men’s 200 yard backstroke meet record, held by Michael Phelps, by over two seconds at the Speedo Eastern Classic hosted by his home club Dynamo in Atlanta.
Taylor bettered Phelps’ 1:43.78 record that he set back in 2003 with a swift 1:41.54. That time would have given the 18-year-old the win this past December at the U.S Winter Nationals.
The year that Phelps set the meet record was the year he went on to suggest that he might be able to beat Mark Spitz’ record of 7 gold medals in one Olympic Games, with top performances at the 2003 World Championships. Although he didn’t compete in any backstroke evens there, he was one of the best backstrokers in the world. At the 2004 U.S Olympic Trials he made the team in the 200m backstroke, but opted not to swim it.
Currently, Taylor’s best long course time is a 1:56.78 from the 2016 U.S Olympic Trials. His short course time suggests that he can be significantly faster if he can translate his success into the big pool. According to the Speedo Time Converter, his 1:41.54 converts to a 1:55.10 long course, a time that would make him competitive on the world stage.
Taylor has been establishing himself as one of the best up-and-coming backstrokers in the United States since 2016 trials. He most recently competed at the short course world championships in Windsor, Canada where he was 12th in the 200m backstroke.