Van Der Merwe Clocks 50m Breast Age Record, Becomes 7th Fastest Briton Ever


  • 50-Meter Course
  • Duna Arena, Budapest (Hungary)
  • Pool swimming: Tuesday, August 20 – Sunday, August 25, 2019
  • Heats 9:30am GMT+2 (3:30 am EDT / 12:30 am PDT)/ Semifinals and Finals 5:30pm GMT+2 (11:30am EDT / 8:30am PDT)
  • Meet site
  • Entries book
  • FinaTV Live Stream (subscription required)
  • Live results

16-year-old Kayla Van Der Merwe of Great Britain made her mark on these World Junior Championships already, clocking a new personal best en route to silver in the women’s 50m breast tonight in Budapest.

Entering these World Junior Championships, Van Der Merwe’s lifetime best in the 50m breast rested at the 31.47 the teen produced at this year’s European Junior Championships for 4th place. At that same meet, the British rising star punched a time of 1:07.12 to win gold in the 100m breast event.

Here in Budapest, Van Der Merwe already staked her claim on this rapid-fire 50m breast with a prelim time of 31.13 for 2nd seed followed by a slightly slower 31.22 to take the 3rd seed after last night’s semi-finals. Bothy outings were quickly approaching the British Age Record for 16-year-olds held by Imogen Clark at 31.04 from 2015.

Flash forward to tonight’s final, however, and Van Der Merwe found another gear, cranking out a monster swim of 30.91 to dip under the 31-second barrier for the very first time, but also overtake the aforementioned British Age Record to write her name down in her nation’s swimming history. She inserts herself into the all-time list of British female performers now at #7.

In the span of just a month, Van Der Merwe dropped over half a second in a race that is over in the blink of an eye.

All-Time Female 50m Breaststroke Performers

1 Imogen Clark European Championships 2018 08/08/18 30.04
2 Sarah Vasey British Swimming Championships 2017 18/04/17 30.3
3 Sophie Taylor Commonwealth Games 2014 24/07/14 30.56
4 Zoe Baker Commonwealth Games 2002 30/07/02 30.57
5 Corrie Scott Commonwealth Games 2014 24/07/14 30.64
6 Rebecca Ajulu-Bushell World School Games 08/12/09 30.73
7 Kayla Van Der Merwe World Junior Championships 21/08/19 30.91

Women’s 50m breast podium at World Junior Championships tonight:

  1. Benedetta PILATO ITA 30.60
  2. Kayla VAN DER MERWE GBR 30.91
  3. Kaitlyn DOBLER USA 30.92

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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