INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, June 27. RACHEL Bootsma is making a serious run at the American record in the 50 backstroke at the USA Swimming nationals, having scratched from the championship final of the 100 butterfly.
Less than hour after posting a 59.84 in the 100 fly prelims to qualify eighth, Bootsma put a scare into Hayley McGregory's American record of 27.80 in the 50 back with a 27.82. It is the fourth-fastest swim of 2013 in the event, and obviously a lifetime best, but not by much. At the 2012 NCSA junior national championships, Bootsma popped a 27.84 in the event, which was briefly the fastest time in the world for the year.
Bootsma has had some close calls with major records already in 2013. At the NCAA championships, she posted the second-fastest 100-yard backstroke in history with a 50.13. Natalie Coughlin's American record of 49.97 is in jeopardy when Bootsma steps up for the 2014 NCAA meet.
The winner of the 50 backstroke will likely earn a spot on the world championship roster in the event, the first time the United States is offering 50s of butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke at nationals.