Kira Toussaint Takes Down World Record in 50 Backstroke in ISL Semifinal

kira-toussaint-london-roar
Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

Flash! Kira Toussaint Takes Down World Record in 50 Backstroke

Heading into the semifinals of the International Swimming League season, one of the world records on alert was the women’s 50-meter backstroke. Indeed, that global standard went down on Saturday at the Duna Arena in Budapest, as the London Roar’s Kira Toussaint covered her two laps in 25.60 to better the 2014 mark of Etiene Medeiros. The Brazilian held the mark for nearly six years at 25.67.

Toussaint has enjoyed a strong season for the Roar, routinely flourishing in the 50 backstroke and 100 backstroke, and on the front of London’s medley relay. Now, the Dutchwoman is a world-record holder. Toussaint blasted to the front of the field and came off the turn with a sizable lead that suggested she would chase the world record. Dolphin-kicking on her side entering the second lap, Toussaint powered to the surface and stayed strong to the wall.

“I have a cue for every part of the race,” Toussaint said during the ISL’s post-match show. “For the start, I say ‘jump.’ Underwater, the word for me is ‘attack.’ And then for the breakout, I tell myself to relax. For every part of the race, I have a word. And for the last five meters, I try to stay big. I learned this in 2016 at the University of Tennessee.”

How long Toussaint’s world record will remain on the books, though, is a legitimate question. In Sunday’s second semifinal, the Cali Condors’ Olivia Smoliga will chase Toussaint’s newly minted standard. Smoliga had held the top time in the league this season at 25.74, .01 ahead of Toussaint before Saturday. Meanwhile, Toussaint and Smoliga figure to meet in the ISL final, a showdown that has been much anticipated this season.

While the 50 backstroke was Toussaint’s best chance at a world record this weekend, she might have an opportunity at the world record in the 100 backstroke on Sunday. The world record in that event stands at 54.89, posted by Australian Minna Atherton during the inaugural ISL season.

World Record Progression (Last 20 Years)

  • 25.60, Kira Toussaint, NED, 2020
  • 25.67, Etiene Medeiros, BRA, 2014
  • 25.70, Sanja Jovanović, CRO, 2009
  • 25.82, Zhao Jing, CHN, 2009
  • 26.08, Zhao Jing, CHN, 2009
  • 26.17, Marieke Guehrer, AUS, 2009
  • 26.23, Sanja Jovanović, CRO, 2008
  • 26.37, Sanja Jovanović, CRO, 2008
  • 26.50, Sanja Jovanović, CRO, 2008
  • 26.83, Li Hui, CHN, 2001
  • 27.25, Haley Cope, USA, 2000

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