Xu Jiayu Breaks 10-Year-Old Championship Record In Men’s 100 Back


China’s Xu Jiayu appeared to be in complete control during the semi-finals of the men’s 100 backstroke on the second day of action in Gwangju, qualifying first into the final in a time of 52.17.

That swim gives Xu a new World Championship Record, lowering the 2009 mark of 52.19 set by Aaron Peirsol while leading off the U.S. medley relay in Rome.

Their swims were split very similarly:

Peirsol, 2009 Xu, 2019
25.36 25.27
26.83 26.90
52.19 52.17

Neither time is a personal best, as Xu and Peirsol are two of the three men in history to have broken 52 seconds. Xu sits 0.01 off of Ryan Murphy‘s world record in 51.86, done in 2017, while Peirsol was the first to do it back in ’09 in 51.94.

Xu’s swim tonight stands up as the 11th fastest in history.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 100 Back

  1. Ryan Murphy (USA), 51.85 – 2016
  2. Xu Jiayu (CHN), 51.86 – 2017
  3. Ryan Murphy (USA) / Aaron Peirsol (USA), 51.94 – 2018/2009
  4. Ryan Murphy (USA), 51.97 – 2016
  5. Matt Grevers (USA), 52.08 – 2012
  6. Camille Lacourt (FRA) / Mitch Larkin (AUS), 52.11 – 2010/2015
  7. David Plummer (USA), 52.12 – 2016
  8. Matt Grevers (USA), 52.16 – 2012
  9. Xu Jiayu (CHN), 52.17 – 2019

Murphy and Russian Evgeny Rylov qualified for the final in a tie for second behind Xu, producing a time of 52.44. Matt Grevers (52.82) and Mitch Larkin (52.91) also went sub-53. The other Russian, Kliment Kolesnikov, notably missed the final in ninth (53.44).

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With the way Murphy looked in that semi this record will last no longer than one night.


what makes you think his swim required more effort than Murphy’s? their PBs are 0.01 apart 🙂

Ol’ Gator

IMO it’s not worth trying to predict how much effort Xu was putting in, his stroke looks very smooth all the time and he never looks like he’s pushing it


I thought Ryan Murphy held the previous championship record from 2015 ..

Go Violets

I don’t think leading off the mixed relays count for records.


Sub 52 showdown incoming

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 …

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