Emma McKeon Chasing Cate Campbell’s World Record in 100 Freestyle; Is Sub-50 Possible?


A Special Thanks to Deep Blue Media for providing the images from this meet

Deep Blue Media

Emma McKeon Chasing World Record in 100 Freestyle; Is Sub-50 Possible?

The world record in the short-course version of the women’s 100-meter freestyle sits at 50.25. That performance was registered by Australian Cate Campbell in 2017, and no other woman has been close to that effort in solo competition. With marks of 50.58, Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and Aussie Emma McKeon share the No. 2 position on the event’s all-time list.

Could McKeon seize the global standard from her countrywoman?

When action gets underway during the third day of finals at the World Short Course Championships in Melbourne, the women’s 100 freestyle will jumpstart the program. Immediately, all eyes will be on McKeon, who heads into the medals race as the top seed and with a sub-50 split to her credit from the meet’s opening night.

Complete Results

McKeon cruised through the semifinals in 51.28, which handed her the No. 1 spot for the final ahead of Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey (51.69). The real measurement of McKeon’s ability to chase Campbell’s world record is the 49.96 she delivered on the anchor leg of Australia’s gold-medal and world-record-setting 400 freestyle relay. That swim marked the first time a woman has cracked the 50-second barrier in the 100 freestyle and while it came with a flying start, it showed McKeon is in prime form and the global standard is in jeopardy.

A seven-time medalist at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, McKeon has prudently drafted her meet schedule since that showing. She bypassed last summer’s World Championships in favor of focusing on the Commonwealth Games. But with the World Short Course Champs in Melbourne, McKeon clearly wanted to excel on home soil – and is fulfilling that goal.

In her relay split, McKeon was out in 23.89 and came home in 26.07. When Campbell set her world record, her splits were 24.21 for the front end and 26.04 for the back half. Again, McKeon’s split was aided by a rolling start, but she is certainly in position to challenge the five-year-old record.

A world record in the 100 freestyle would be the perfect way for McKeon to cap her 2022 season, and making a run at 49-point would be a defining moment in the sport. After all, it’s rare we get to see the 50-second threshold broken for the first time, and it has never been done by a female athlete in a metric race.

We’ll soon see what the 28-year-old can produce.

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