Olivia Smoliga Becomes 3rd-Fastest American in History in 100 Back

2016 U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM TRIALS

Olivia Smoliga of Georgia and the Athens Bulldogs Swim Club became the third-fastest female American 100 backstroker in history today with her win in the women’s 100 back. Smoliga took the event in 59.02.

With this swim, she bypassed Hayley McGregory‘s suit-era 2008 59.11 swim for the number three American in history rank. Below are the top seven American performers in history:

  1. Missy Franklin: 58.33 (2012)
  2. Natalie Coughlin: 58.94 (2008)
  3. Olivia Smoliga: 59.02 (2016)
  4. Hayley McGregory: 59.11 (2008)
  5. Margaret Hoelzer: 59.21 (2008)
  6. Elizabeth Pelton: 59.27 (2013)
  7. Kathleen Baker: 59.29 (2016)

At the 50, it was actually Kathleen Baker of SwimMAC who held the lead with 28.68 to Smoliga’s 28.86, but Smoliga made a huge charge into the finish, capping off the race with 30.16. Baker’s final split was 30.61 for a total of 59.29.

Baker’s performance ranks her the seventh-fastest American all-time.

Both pulled out a victory over a packed field, including the number one and two Americans in history, Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin, who finished seventh (1:00.24) and eighth (1:00.48), respectively.

Smoliga now sits fourth in the world rankings.

2015-2016 LCM Women 100 BACK

EmilyAUS
SEEBOHM
11/03
58.34
2Katinka
HOSSZU
HUN58.4508/08
3Mie
NIELSEN
DEN58.7305/19
4Kathleen
BAKER
USA58.7508/08
5Kylie
MASSE
CAN58.7608/08
View Top 26»

This will be both Smoliga and Baker’s first Olympic Games.

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USCSwimmah
6 years ago

Hayley did not have the illegal suit in 2008. She didn’t get her first one until 2009 so her swim was not a suit era swim.

USCSwimmah
6 years ago

Hayley didn’t start racing in the illegal suits until 2009 so her time was not a suit era time.

Steve Nolan
6 years ago

HOT TAKE: Could see ’em both getting on the podium.

Hint of Lime
6 years ago

Congrats to both Smoliga and Baker!!

Chips and COOKIES
6 years ago

I LOVE YOU, OLIVIA!!!! CONGRATS TINY!

Danjohnrob
6 years ago

Not to be negative or take anything away from Olivia’s remarkable swim here, but if Seebohm is able to do a 38.3 in Rio, the US 400 Medley will be well behind Australia after the backstroke, and with one of the Campbell sisters on anchor the US will need amazing swims out of our breast and fly swimmers to win the gold. Perhaps Olivia/Kathleen can manage sub-59 in Rio to keep things close?

MarkB
Reply to  Danjohnrob
6 years ago

Yes, the US will be REALLY behind if she goes 38.3!!

Danjohnrob
Reply to  MarkB
6 years ago

LOL! Yeah, I don’t think we’d be able to catch up more than 20 seconds! Duh, 58.3! 🙂

taa
Reply to  Danjohnrob
6 years ago

Its .7 in back and ?? in free adv to aussies and .9 BR and .5 in fly adv usa. it comes down to a sub 53 100 free needed for usa. This needs Swimswam to do a formal analysis after the 100 free is done. USA vs China vs Australia

commonwombat
Reply to  taa
6 years ago

US “paper” advantage on fly is 0.4 rather than 0.5. Both Campbells have “repeat form” of sub52 relays splits, actually 51mid splits so it will most likely need more than just sub53 splits from the US anchor but something well below. At this point, that looks a significant question mark with the current US standard being north of 53.5. Maybe we’ll see someone change that scenery at this meet but they are coming from a long way back.

Then again, races AREN’T won on paper. Both AUS & US had legs that misfired terribly in Kazan ….. and they paid the price. CHN has no world leaders on any leg but were the most even in Kazan. Both US &… Read more »

taa
Reply to  commonwombat
6 years ago

If we are going to use Cambells flying starts then we can use Seebohm’s 58.8 and Mckeon’s 57.6 relay splits from last summer also?And i can use Vollmer’s sub 56 former WR cause she has been that fast in the past.

Use the 2016 trial times. Except I will give Seebohm credit for being faster than her recent trials swim. I am not convinced Vollmer fully rested either this week.

Deraj
Reply to  Danjohnrob
6 years ago

Here’s what I can see happen for the relay:
Australia:
Seebohm – 58.5
Bohl – 1:05.9
McKeon – 56.5
C. Campbell – 51.8
3:52.7

US:
Smoliga – 59.0
King – 1:04.8
Worrell/Vollmer – 56.1
Ledecky (and depends on the winner in the 100 at OTs) – 52.8
3:52.7

As evident, the two countries have very different strengths and will be a close race.
Seebohm can definitely can be faster but historically, she performs better individually.
2012 Olympics: Individual – 58.68 (58.23/58.39 in prelims/semis) Relay – 59.01
2013 WC: Individual – 59.06 Relay – 59.40
2014 Pan Pac: Individual – 58.84 Relay – 59.44
2015… Read more »

taa
Reply to  Deraj
6 years ago

depth could be a factor if Mckeon or Bohl are off their game there is no replacement.

breaststrokeisthebeststroke
6 years ago

I had the privilege of swimming against Olivia a few times in high school (her high school was in the same league as mine), and it was always exciting getting to see her swim. So proud of her for making it to Rio! Good luck, Olivia!

iLikePsych
6 years ago

Wasn’t Rachel Bootsma 59.10 during semis at trials in 2012?

Swammer
Reply to  iLikePsych
6 years ago

She was.

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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