Men’s ISL Performance of the Year: Coleman Stewart Drops Stunning 100 Back World Record

STEWART Coleman CAC Cali Condors (CAC) ISL International Swimming League 2021 Match 7 day 2 Piscina Felice Scandone Napoli, Naples Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
Coleman Stewart -- Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

Men’s ISL Performance of the Year: Coleman Stewart Drops Stunning 100 Back World Record

At the start of the 2021 ISL season, many of the world’s top swimmers were just easing back into competition following the Olympic Games, so exceptional times were not expected during the first several matches or perhaps even at all during the regular season. But Coleman Stewart, a 23-year-old from York, Pa., and a former standout at NC State University, showed up to compete right off the bat.

Stewart had narrowly missed the U.S. Olympic team, finishing eighth in the 100 freestyle and fourth in the 100 butterfly at the U.S. Olympic Trials. He finished just 10th in the 100 backstroke at Trials, but Stewart has always been elite in short course backstroke. Stewart’s underwater dolphin kick is a powerful weapon, and in short course, he can spend more than half of the race kicking underwater.

Racing for the Cali Condors, Stewart got off to a hot start in his team’s first match. During the first day, he nearly broke the American record in the 50 back, and then, while leading off Cali’s 400 medley relay. he clipped one hundredth off Matt Grevers’ national mark in the 100 back with a 48.91. It turns out that was just a warmup for what Stewart had in store when he arrived for his first race on day two.

In the individual 100 back event, Stewart blasted out to a 23.45 first 50 split, more than four tenths ahead of Kliment Kolesnikov’s world-record pace. Stewart then held on to finish in 48.33, taking down Kolesnikov’s world record of 48.58. It was the first world record of Stewart’s career, and he finished more than two seconds ahead of the field.

Stewart’s reaction to the record was “complete shock.” He had been preparing to swim fast during the ISL season, but he had taken a break after Olympic Trials, so he never expected to swim so fast so soon.

“Short course meters is kind of my bread-and-butter, just because I kick off the wall a lot,” Stewart said after the race. “It’s a little different than short course yards, but I’m glad to be back my wheelhouse. It was pretty cool to get that record.”

Superstar Caeleb Dressel, Stewart’s teammate on the Condors, chimed in to explain the significance of his teammate’s accomplishment.

“This is the fastest person in history for a moment of this sport,” Dressel said. “This is a very big deal, and to do it in the first meet after coming off of Trials, where the goal of Olympic Trials is to make the team, there’s probably a little bit of a downfall there. And to take a break and get back in your groove that quick, it just speaks volumes to this team.”

Stewart ended up winning both the 50 and 100 back twice more during the regular season, and he also picked up an individual win in the 200 back, but he did not approach that record-setting form again. In the final match of the ISL playoffs, Stewart actually ended up fourth in 50.46, more than two seconds off his world record from three months earlier, but he returned much closer to top form in time for the ISL final.

In the biggest meet of the ISL season, Stewart faced off against Olympic gold medalist Evgeny Rylov and long course world-record holder Ryan Murphy, and he came away with a second-place finish, only two tenths behind Rylov. His time of 49.13 was well off his world record, but it was quicker than the winning time at the Short Course World Championships two weeks later.

Heading into 2022, he is still unproven in long course, but there is no doubt that Coleman Stewart is one of the best short course backstrokers in the world.

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Tom
8 months ago

Kyle chalmers 100 free? Broke a long-standing super suit WR