Flash! Kliment Kolesnikov Scorches To World Record Of 48.58 In 100m Backstroke

Kliment Kolesnikov (photo: Mike Lewis)
Kliment Kolesnikov: Photo Courtesy: Mike Lewis/ISL

It had already been an astonishing session when the last race of day one of the ISL final got under way at the Duna Arena – and Kliment Kolesnikov was about to write his own entry into the history books.

The Russian had given a hint of what was to come when he split 45.25 on the second leg as Energy Standard won the 4×100 free.

Come the lead-off in the medley relay and the Russian was simply devastating.

It was Ryan Murphy who was first at halfway, going out in 23.76 to Kolesnikov’s 23.80 but it was on the second 50 that the latter accelerated away.

Length, balance, posture and technique all aligned and a time of 24.78 saw him ease past Murphy – a triple Olympic champion, remember – to stop the clock in 48.58.


Photo Courtesy: Mine Kasapoglu / ISL

He ripped off his Energy cap and slapped the water. “A. New. World. Record.” roared Bernie Guenther and Rowdy Gaines in commentary. And then some.

The 20-year-old had cut an almighty 0.30secs from the previous mark of 48.88 set by Xu Jiayu at the Tokyo leg of the World Cup in 2018.

Kolesnikov’s previous best of 48.90 was also the European record – a time he had done when aged just 17 at the Vladimir Salnikov Cup in St Petersburg, Russia, in December 2017.

Behind him some 0.78secs adrift was Murphy who touched in 49.36.

Of Kolesnikov’s record, Murphy told the ISL:

“I’m bummed I couldn’t see it because I was touching 0.8 behind him.

“That guy’s a beast and he did really good there so that’s really awesome to see as well.”

Despite being only 20 and with plenty more to come, Kolesnikov has a roll call which would take up quite some room on one of those long arms on his 6ft 5ins body.

There were four golds and two silvers at the 2017 European short-course followed by a glittering 2018.

Less than a month after turning 18, he won three gold medals – including the 50 and 100 back double – two silvers and a bronze at the European Championships in Glasgow.

Then on to Buenos Aires and the Youth Olympics where he made six trips to the top of the podium.

At the 2019 worlds in Gwangju, Kolesnikov took bronze in the 50 back and men’s 4×100 medley relay as well as silver with the men’s 4×100 free where he split 47.5.

He concluded the year with six golds at the European Short-Course Championships in Glasgow.

World Record Progression (Last 20 Years)

  • 48.58, Kliment Kolesnikov, RUS, 2020
  • 48.88, Xu Jiayu, CHN, 2018
  • 48.90, Kliment Kolesnikov, RUS, 2017
  • 48.92, Matt Grevers, USA, 2015
  • 48.94, Nick Thoman, USA, 2009
  • 48.97, Arkady VyatchaninStanislav Donets, RUS, 2009
  • 49.17, Arkady Vyatchanin, RUS, 2009
  • 49.20, Aschwin Wildeboer, ESP, 2008
  • 49.32, Stanislav Donets, RUS, 2008
  • 49.63, Peter Marshall, USA, 2008
  • 49.94, Peter Marshall, USA, 2008
  • 49.99, Ryan Lochte, USA, 2006
  • 50.32, Peter Marshall, USA, 2004
  • 50.58, Thomas Rupprath, GER, 2002
  • 50.75, Neil Walker, USA, 2000
  • 51.28, Lenny Krayzelburg, USA, 2000

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