Nicholas Pyle Takes Care Of British Backstroke Business In Austin


Anyone who followed this weekend’s TYR Pro Swim Series in Austin recognized a small but mighty British contingency sprinkled among the various men’s and women’s events. One of the young athletes who took advantage of the opportunity to race against the big guns of America, among other nations, was 17-year-old Nicholas Pyle, a Newcastle Swim Team athlete who has been making great strides on the age group backstroking scene as of late.

Just last December, Pyle nabbed 2 age records for British 16-year-olds while competing at the Swim England Winter Championships in Sheffield. He threw down a personal best of 25.62 in the 50m backstroke and 54.95 in the 100m backstroke to check-in as the fastest ever British male of his age in each distance.

In Austin this weekend, Pyle did even better, holding his own against the likes of America’s Matt Grevers and Justin Ress, as well as his own domestic competition in Luke Greenbank. Pyle placed 5th overall in the 100m back in 55.39, beating out Commonwealth Games-bound Greenbank who settled for 6th in 55.65.

Pyle made even more noise in the 50m sprint, making it through the 1st round of the skins competition in a time of 25.39 before finishing just one spot out of the final 2 in a mark of 25.41. His early round effort of 25.39 established a new British age record for 17-year-olds, overtaking the previous time of 25.54 held by Jack Ness since 2014.

For perspective, Pyle’s times at last year’s World Junior Championships were 55.38 for 7th in the 100m back and 25.92 for 9th in the 50m back. Given the fact that Indianapolis was a full-scale taper championships meet while Austin is considered an in-season meet, the proximity of times is encouraging for the youngster who continues to improve.

British backstroking is seeking its next individual and relay star, with mainstay Christopher Walker-Hebborn drifting off the elite radar and not being named to this year’s Commonwealth Games. Pyle’s progression is pointing the Newcastle teen in the right direction, one that British fans are hoping will continue into the Tokyo 2020 horizon.

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One big reason to smile for this youngster: thinking that there is an Olympic medal (to establish which colour) at Tokyo2020, with Peaty, Guy and Scott to follow in the medley relay.
And Pyle has good chances (then Clogg, Walker Hebborn, Greenbank and Cross, in my opinion, at the moment) to swim that backstroke lead-off.

For the boys

James McFadzen too!!


Channelling Rick Carey’s hair may be helping!


Love to see what Mel Marshall could do with this lad!

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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