Mollie O’Callaghan Clocks 58.42 100 Backstroke, Becoming 3rd-Fastest Australian Ever

by Ben Dornan 4

April 18th, 2023 Australia, International, News


Mollie O’Callaghan became the third-fastest Australian woman in history in the 100 backstroke by posting a 58.42 in the final at the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships. The time is an improvement upon her former best of 58.86 from Olympic Trials in 2021. She formerly held the #5 position all-time in the Australian rankings and has now jumped Minna Atherton and Madi Wilson to hit the #3 spot.

All-time 100 Backstroke Rankings – Australian Women

  1. Kaylee McKeown – 57.45 (2021)
  2. Emily Seebohm – 58.23 (2012)
  3. Mollie O’Callaghan – 58.42 (2023)
  4. Minna Atherton – 58.60 (2019)
  5. Madi Wilson – 58.76 (2015)
  6. Belinda Hocking – 59.29 (2012)

O’Callaghan took silver here to world record holder Kaylee McKeown who dipped under 58 seconds with a 57.90, which is one of the fastest times in history. It trails, however, her season-best of 57.84 from March and her world record of 57.45 from 2021.

This 58.42 from O’Callaghan gets her into the top three worldwide for the 2022-2023 season, behind McKeown and former world record holder Regan Smith who notched a 57.90 last week. O’Callaghan out-swam the top two performers at Canadian Trials, Ingrid Wilm (58.80) and Kylie Masse (59.00).

2022-2023 LCM Women 100 Back

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O’Callaghan has primarily been a sprint freestyler on the international stage, but the 100 backstroke becomes an increasingly viable option for her. Few women in history have swum a 58-low 100 backstroke and if she can sneak into the 57 range, she will certainly be a medal threat on the world stage. The only three women to have hit a 57 thus far are McKeown, Smith, and Kylie Masse who holds a 57.70 and used to hold the world record at a 58.10. O’Callaghan’s time makes her the 11th-fastest woman in history, getting in between Claire Curzan‘s 58.39 from 2022 and Rhyan White‘s 58.43 from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Other active swimmers who have been quicker than 58.42 include Kathleen Dawson (58.08, 2021) and Olivia Smoliga (58.31, 2021).

We will have to wait and see until later this year at Australian Trials to see if O’Callaghan will go for a spot on the 2023 World Championships team in the 100 backstroke.

Mollie O’Callaghan raced to gold last year in the 100 freestyle at the 2022 World Championships, hitting a 52.67, and took silver in the 200 freestyle with a 1:55.22. She made her major international breakthrough at the Olympics in 2021 when she contributed as a relay swimmer on the women’s 4×100 free, 4×200 free, and 4×100 medley relays. Notably, O’Callaghan swam a 1:55.11 world junior record-breaking 200 freestyle opening leg in Tokyo prelims but wasn’t selected to race in finals where she would have been one of the fastest splits if she could replicate her prelims speed.

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5 months ago

Love MOC, what a swimmer.

5 months ago

I know it’s not her first time under 59, but sub 59 in the 100 back and sub 53 in the 100 free is a seriously elite club- to my knowledge, the only 3 swimmers who have done that are O’Callaghan, Madi Wilson, and Taylor Ruck?

I think I’d probably put 53.00 in the 100 free as similar to 58.75 in the 100 back and 56.75 in the 100 fly. There are the 3 aforementioned who have those times in free/back, there are 2 more who have done it in fly/back (Regan Smith and Claire Curzan), and then 5 more who have it in free/fly (Sjostrom, McKeon, Zhang Yufei, Huske, Ikee). Dunno what the equivalent breaststroke time is but I… Read more »

Last edited 5 months ago by jeff
Personal Best
5 months ago

That’s very impressive. It’s nice to see MOC give the 100 back some attention and show was she is capable of – she had shown a lot of promise in this and the 200 back.

I think MOC’s time would still rank top 5 when including all of last year’s times too.

Mike McCormack
Reply to  Personal Best
5 months ago

With MOC’s speed, character and laconic nature… this Yank is a BIG fan. Go, MOC!!