Olivia Smoliga Sets American Record, Wins Women’s 50 Back Gold

2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

24-year-old Olivia Smoliga set a new American Record in the final of the women’s 50 back during day five action at the 2019 World Championships, winning the gold medal in a time of 27.33.

Smoliga’s swim lowers her previous mark of 27.43, set at last year’s Pro Swim Series stop in Mesa during the third and final round of the 50m shootouts they were contesting there. Prior to that, the record belonged to Kathleen Baker who went 27.48 at the 2017 World Championships.

Baker was the top qualifier out of the semis here in Gwangju in 27.62, but all eight qualifiers for the final were separated by just 0.17 and it was going to be anyone’s race. Smoliga used a superb start and finish to get the job done, with 2015 champion Etiene Medeiros claiming silver in 27.44 and Russian Daria Vaskina the bronze in 27.51.

The swim for Smoliga bumps her up from 12th to 10th all-time in the event, and makes her the first American champion in the event since 2009. It was also the 24th fastest swim in history.

ALL-TIME PERFORMERS, WOMEN’S 50 BACK

  1. Liu Xiang (CHN), 26.98 – 2018
  2. Zhao Jing (CHN), 27.06 – 2009
  3. Fu Yuanhui (CHN), 27.11 – 2015
  4. Etiene Medeiros (BRA), 27.14 – 2017
  5. Georgia Davies (GBR), 27.21 – 2018
  6. (T-6) Daniela Samulski (GER), 27.23 – 2009
  7. (T-6) Aliaksandra Herasimenia (BLR), 27.23 – 2017
  8. (T-6) Anastasia Fesikova (RUS), 27.23 – 2018
  9. Gao Chang (CHN), 27.28 – 2009
  10. Olivia Smoliga (USA), 27.33 – 2019

This is the Glenview, Illinois native’s first individual LC World Championship gold medal, previously winning gold in two relays in Budapest and then bronze earlier in this competition in the 100 back. Also a 2016 Olympic gold medalist from the prelim medley relay in Rio, Smoliga set an all-time record with eight gold medals at the Short Course World Championships last December.

In This Story

6
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

6 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JudgeNot
3 years ago

Yay!

Pags
3 years ago

Seems like such a gentle soul in interviews, but a true monster in the pool.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Pags
3 years ago

she has both indeed – such a young Class act

Zanna
3 years ago

Girl crush

Ervin
3 years ago

Smoliga looking so icy with that new hardware and that suit

Wondering
3 years ago

Goddess

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

Read More »