Claire Curzan Breaks Minute Barrier With Eye-Opening 59.37 in 100 Backstroke

Claire Curzan - The Battle for First - Swimming World August 2019 1000x720

Claire Curzan Breaks Minute Barrier With Eye-Opening 59.37 in 100 Backstroke

Welcome to the sub-minute club, Claire Curzan.

The phenomenal weekend of the 16-year-old star and Olympic hopeful grew in stature on Sunday night, when Curzan broke the minute barrier in the 100-meter backstroke for the first time. Racing in her home pool at the TAC Titans Premier Invitational, Curzan turned in a time of 59.37 to beat her previous best, 1:00.00 from the 2019 World Junior Championships.

If Curzan chooses to contest the event at June’s United States Olympic Trials, her presence would strengthen an event that is already considered one of the deepest on the program. In breaking the minute barrier for the first time, Curzan went out in 28.74 and came home in 30.63. The time wasn’t far off the 59.04 that Olivia Smoliga posted to win the 100 backstroke at the TYR Pro Series stop in Mission Viejo.

The 100 backstroke at the Olympic Trials will be loaded with the likes of world-record holder Regan Smith, reigning Olympic silver medalist Kathleen Baker, Smoliga and NCAA stars Phoebe Bacon and Katharine Berkoff, among others.

Prior to her backstroke breakthrough, Curzan moved to No. 8 all-time in the 100 butterfly, thanks to a clocking of 56.20 on Saturday night. That effort, which held off Torri Huske and her 56.69 mark, made Curzan the second-fastest American in history, behind only Dana Vollmer and the 55.98 (a world record at the time) she produced to win the 2012 Olympic title. Curzan also went 54.40 in the 100 freestyle, that swim coming on Friday night.

Curzan also contested the 50 freestyle, but she was disqualified in her head-to-head duel with Torri Huske, who zoomed to a time of 24.44. Curzan’s disqualification was the result of night breaking the surface of the water by the 15-meter mark.