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Kaylee McKeown becomes second swimmer to hold every backstroke world record

Kaylee McKeown

MARINE MESSE HALL A, FUKUOKA, JAPAN - 2023/07/29: Kaylee Mckeown of Australia reacts after competing in the 200m Backstroke Women Final during the 20th World Aquatics Championships. Kaylee Mckeown placed first winning the gold medal. (Photo by Andrea Staccioli/Insidefoto/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Insidefoto/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Kaylee McKeown broke the 50m backstroke world record and became the second swimmer and first woman to hold the world record in all three backstroke events in an Olympic-size pool.

McKeown clocked 26.86 seconds at a World Cup meet in Budapest on Friday, lowering the record of 26.98 set by Liu Xiang of China in 2018.

Then on Saturday, McKeown broke the 100m back world record for a second time, lowering it from 57.45 to 57.33.

McKeown owns the five fastest 100m back times in history and has broken 58 seconds on 14 occasions, according to World Aquatics. Two other women have broken 58 — American Regan Smith (12 times) and Canadian Kylie Masse (three times).

The 50m back is not contested at the Olympics but is held at the world championships. The first recognized world record in the event was in 1997, while records in the 100m and 200m backstrokes go back much farther.

This past July, McKeown became the first swimmer to sweep the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke titles at a single world championships. She also swept the 100m and 200m back golds at the Tokyo Olympics.

McKeown, 22, has held the 100m back world record since June 2021 and the 200m back world record since this past March.

The only man to break all three backstroke world records was American Lenny Krayzelburg. He broke all three at the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships and held all of them simultaneously for two and a half years.

McKeown is not the first woman to hold world records in every event of one stroke. South African Penny Heyns held the 50m, 100m and 200m breaststroke world records in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Next year, McKeown can become the second swimmer to sweep the backstrokes at multiple Olympics. East German Roland Matthes did so in 1968 and 1972.