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Beata Nelson: Wisconsin swimmer breaks 100-yard backstroke record

Wisconsin swimmer Beata Nelson continued her eye-popping fall season by setting the NCAA and American 100-yard record Friday night to win the backstroke at the Texas Hall of Fame Swimming Invitational in Austin, Texas. The junior from Verona, Wis., finished with a time of 49.67.

Nelson also won the 200 individual medley on Thursday night by over three seconds (1:53.61) and set the UW record in the 200-yard backstroke on Saturday with a time of 1:49.10.

Nelson, the odds-on favorite to win the event at the NCAA championships in March, broke the previous record of 49.69 set by Stanford’s now-graduated Ally Howe last year.

The fastest 25 swimmers in each event over the course of the year automatically qualify for the NCAA championships held in March. Nelson’s time this weekend has automatically qualified her for the NCAA championships, allowing her to spend the rest of her season training specifically for the NCAA championships.

Nelson’s swim may be the fastest ever in a 25-yard pool (Olympics are swum in a 50-meter pool). 2016 100-yard back silver medalist Kathleen Baker took third in the event at the 2018 NCAA championship with a time of 50.77. Howe won the event last year (49.70) and Nelson was third (49.92). Baker turned pro this year and will not be competing at NCAAs.

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