World Record Performance of the Year: Kathleen Baker

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Kathleen Baker is the winner of Swimming World’s World Record Performance of the Year after she posted an all-time best time of 58.00 in the 100-meter LC backstroke at the 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships in Irvine, California.

Original race report:

The 2018 Phillips 66 National Championships continues tonight in Irvine, California, with the best of the United States vying for spots on a number of international rosters for this summer and next year’s World Championships team.

There were plenty of shocking swims tonight, with the most impressive having to go to Kathleen Baker. The swimmer stunned the crowd with a new world record in the women’s 100-meter LC backstroke on the fourth night of finals in Irvine, blasting a 58.00 to nearly become the first woman under 57 seconds in the event and make her the fastest swimmer in the event in 2018 by more than half a second.

Kathleen Baker stunned the crowd with the first world record of the 2018 Nationals meet, nearly becoming the first woman under 58 seconds with a 58.00. Baker was out very fast, flipping nearly 6-tenths under world record pace at 27.90. She was able to hold on down the stretch to get to the wall in 58.00, breaking Canadian Kylie Masse’s record from World Championships last year while also erasing Missy Franklin’s 2012 American record and Baker’s own U.S. Open record from last summer.

The top three finishers were all under 59 seconds, with Olivia Smoliga punching her ticket to Pan Pacs with a 58.75 that improves her best time by .02. Regan Smith followed in third in 58.83, a best time and another new world junior record holder for the 16-year-old. Phoebe Bacon, who was the second seed out of prelims, was slightly off her morning time to finish in fourth in this final.

Katharine Berkoff was fifth in 59.77, which is the 17-year-old’s first time under 1:00. NC State’s Elise Haan was sixth in 1:00.08, while Ali DeLoof (1:00.13) and Lisa Bratton (1:00.55) rounded out the final.

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  2. avatar

    Unfortunate that she couldn’t back up the world record in the event at Pan Pacs, finished third there and had kind of an off SCM World Champs.