Smoliga Officially Lowers American Record En Route To 50 Back World Title

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

American Olivia Smoliga officially lowered her American record even further in tonight’s final of the 50 backstroke, although she just missed her lifetime best in the event. Smoliga touched first in 25.88 to break the American record of 25.97 she set earlier this week leading off the 4×50 medley relay. She was faster later in the week leading off the 4×50 medley relay (25.85), although that time does not count officially because it came in a mixed relay event. She is the only American in history to break 26 seconds in the event.

Smoliga (on winning for her teammates): “I just wanted to win for Team USA. They’ve been such great supporters and you can really hear them cheering in the stands.”

Smoliga (on her race): “It feels like a blur to me. It goes by so quickly. I saw both girls on either side of me off the turn and I knew I had to have a really good finish. I tried my best to get my hand on the wall first.

In second was Austria’s Caroline Pilhatsch (25.99), which stands as the new Austrian national record. Taking bronze was Australian Holly Barratt in 26.04.

Following her backstroke win Barratt said: “I am very happy with that race. It was right after my freestyle semi-final and all I was focussing on was holding together a good race when I was going to be a bit tired.

“I wasn’t thinking about medals beforehand, I just wanted to execute the race well and do the skills the way I wanted, and I did so I am very happy,” she added.

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3 years ago