Olivia Smoliga Becomes First HS Girl Under 22 Seconds in 50 Free

Olivia Smoliga from Glenbrook South High School entered this weekend’s Illinois High School State Championship meet with here eyes on a possible 100 backstroke National High School Record.

But do you remember how she didn’t swim that race at last year’s meet, because she wanted to improve upon her versatility, and therefore value to a college team, by focusing on her sprinting? Mission accomplished.

Smoliga swam a 21.99 in the finals of the 50 free to become the first high school female in history to go under 22 seconds. The future Georgia Bulldog took down the old public school, and overall, record held by Kara Lynn Joyce of 22.04 from ten years ago (almost to the day – November 22nd).

Smoliga is a future Georgia Bulldog, just like Joyce once was, and with this swim really enters the conversation alongside Missy Franklin and Lia Neal, the two Olympians, for the ultra-primo recruits in this class; certainly in yards. What’s more is that this meet is being swum at Evanston Township High School, which locals decry as a “slow pool”.

She’s got the 100 back to come still, where she was a 51.8 last night that leaves her a few tenths from Rachel Bootsma’s record in that race as well. We’ll update with a full meet recap when things wrap up in Illinois.

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There is really no doubt that Evanston has a slow pool compared to the pools that every other state utilize for their state meets. It is a six lane pool and the far end is 3’6″ and Olivia is swimming this fast regardless. It’s too bad she probably won’t be on a full taper if she goes to Nationals as she will likely focus on Short Course Worlds.


With all the pools in the state of Illinois and the high level of competition, why in the h*ll would they hold the state meet in a pool that is 3.5 feet deep at one end?

That’s either nuts or the information regarding the pool’s depth is incorrect.

This is hard to fathom.


It’s a rule that Illinois HS state meets can only be held in pools with spectator seating on three sides of the pool. So only 2 high schools in the state – Evanston and New Trier – fit this requirement, so they typically alternate location each year.


It is a myth that the IHSA requires the meet to be held in pools with seating on three sides. The fact is that Illinois has no pools with more seating around the competition course as NT and Evanston.

None of the collegiate pools in Illinois have adequate seating to host the meet.


They Illinois state meet alternates between two pools at New Trier and Evanston. The reason why those two pools are the only ones that are used is that they have seating on three sides of the pool and no other pools in the state have the same kind of seating capacity except for the University of Illinois at Chicago pool which really should be used as it is a significantly better pool but they have never considered that pool. New Trier also doesn’t have a warm down pool and the starting end is four feet deep.


Another national record for Smoliga 51.43 in the 100 backstroke

Hey Nick and Ashley! I love this site!! I’m going to miss you both dearly! It’s been great wonrikg with you Ashley and I will miss having you around and our work conversations, haha, oh and our happy hours 🙂 Hopefully Eric and I will be able to visit you guys out there!Best of luck to you guys on your new adventure!luv,akemi

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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