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arena Swim of the Week: Emma McKeon Records First Sub-54 Fly Split On Aussie Relay

Swim of the Week is brought to you by arena, a SwimSwam partner.

Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

Emma McKeon put on a show for the home crowd at the Short Course World Championships in Melbourne, winning both of her individual events while also contributing some of the fastest splits in history to help Australia claim five relay medals.

Among those were the quickest relay legs in history in the 50 free (22.62) and 100 free (49.96), but amidst a chaotic final day of action on Sunday, her 100 fly performance on the women’s 400 medley relay flew a little bit under the radar.

McKeon, who didn’t enter the women’s 100 fly individually, split a blistering 53.93 for the Australian women, which is the fastest in history by a wide margin and the first under 54 seconds.

The previous fastest split on record came from Dana Vollmer, who went 54.37 during the 2009 Duel In The Pool.

All-Time Relay Splits, Women’s 100 Fly (SCM)

Emma McKeon (AUS), 53.93 – 2022
Dana Vollmer (USA), 54.37 – 2009
Torri Huske (USA), 54.53 – 2022
Maggie MacNeil (CAN), 54.59 – 2022
Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 54.65 – 2021

McKeon handily out split Maggie MacNeil who, earlier in the session, broke the world record in the 100 fly in a time of 54.05. That performance causes McKeon’s split to lose a little bit of its luster, but taking out reaction times, their ‘through the water’ times are separated by less than two-tenths.

MacNeil, WR
McKeon, Relay Split

Reaction Time
0.62
0.32

Final Time
54.05
53.93

Difference
53.43
53.61

MacNeil split 54.59 on the Canadian relay, which won bronze, while 100 fly silver medalist Torri Huske went 54.53 for the Americans, who won gold and set a new world record in 3:44.35.

The Aussies took silver in 3:44.92, with McKeon having dived in third and then handed off to anchor swimmer Meg Harris trailing the leading Americans by just 26 one-hundredths.

You can watch the fly leg of the relay below, courtesy of World Aquatics:

McKeon owns a personal best time of 55.39 in the SCM women’s 100 fly, set in 2019, and her fastest 100 fly relay split in short course was set during the 2021 ISL season in 55.13.

The 28-year-old finished the competition tied for the most medals of anyone with seven, including four gold.

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