Kaylee McKeown suffers huge blow before Olympics as Regan Smith shatters world record

The Aussie swimming star fell short of lowering her 100m backstroke mark last week, and has now lost the record altogether.

Just days after Kaylee McKeown came agonisingly close to breaking her own world record at the Olympic swimming trials, American rival Regan Smith has snatched it from her. Smith set a new world record in the 100m backstroke at the US Olympic trials in Indianapolis on Tuesday - and shattered McKeown's previous mark.

The American touched in 57.13 seconds, easily beating the mark of 57.33 set by McKeown last year. "That was part of the plan," Smith said after qualifying for her second Olympics. "I'm so happy."

McKeown appeared desperate to lower her own mark at the Aussie trials in Brisbane last week, but could only manage a 57.41. The 22-year-old will be hell-bent on getting her record back at the Olympics in Paris after admitting she was disappointed not to set a new mark in Brisbane.

Regan Smith and Kaylee McKeown.
Regan Smith broke Kaylee McKeown's world record in the 100m backstroke at the American Olympic trials. Image: Getty/NBC

"I'm a little bit disappointed," McKeown said. "But I have booked myself another ticket to Paris so that's just another chance to go faster."

Before Smith's world record on Tuesday, McKeown had the six fastest times in the history of the women's 100m backstroke. She admitted she might have been hampered by the fact she added the 200m individual medley to her program, which sapped some of her energy.

"If you're going to get up and do a 200 (medley) at max effort, you're not going to come in the next day being refreshed - no matter what you do," she said. "The Olympics is just like that. If all goes to plan I will have nine individual events plus relays, so I have got to put myself in harm's way here."

McKeown is the reigning Olympic champion in the 100m and 200m backstroke, but Smith has laid down a huge challenge heading into Paris. The American won bronze in the 100m at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, but has stepped things up a notch three years later.

Smith bounced back emphatically after missing a spot on the US team in the 100m butterfly, where she finished third behind Gretchen Walsh and Torri Huske. Katharine Berkoff claimed the second Olympic spot in the 100m backstroke with a time of 57.91.

Regan Smith at the US Olympic swimming trials.
Regan Smith looks on after breaking the 100m backstroke world record. Image: Getty

That time was slower than the one Mollie O'Callaghan set when she finished second in 57.88 behind McKeown in Brisbane in what she called her "fun event". O'Callaghan's pet events are the 100m and 200m freestyle, and she admitted she might pull out of the backstroke in Paris despite securing the second spot for Australia.

"I don't know yet. It really depends on if I qualify for the next few (freestyle) events, that's the main thing," she said. "The 100 backstroke for me is a fun event, I don't really train for it, so to go out there and do a 57 is just amazing."


O'Callaghan had her 200m freestyle world record broken by compatriot Ariarne Titmus in Brisbane, and the Aussies shape as a real chance to go 1-2 in Paris. O'Callaghan bounced back by winning the 100m freestyle in 52.33.

Mollie O'Callaghan and Kaylee McKeown.
Mollie O'Callaghan and Kaylee McKeown at the Australian Olympic swimming trials. Image: Getty

with agencies