Armstrong posted a time of 23.71 seconds in the non-Olympic event while competing Thursday night in the International Team Trials at Greensboro, North Carolina.
The meet is selecting the U.S. team that will compete at this summer’s world championships in Budapest, Hungary, an event that was added to the calendar after the 2021 worlds in Fukuoka, Japan, were postponed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic. That competition will now be held in 2023.
🚨NEW WORLD RECOOOOOOORD 🚨
🇺🇸 Hunter Armstrong claimed the World Record in the 50m Backstroke in ⏱ 23.71 at the USA International Team Trials @USASwimming #swimming #worldrecord pic.twitter.com/HQqAQMSaaS
— FINA (@fina1908) April 29, 2022
The 21-year-old Armstrong, who attends Ohio State, won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer by swimming the backstroke leg in the prelims of the 4×100 medley relay.
Still, he was stunned by his time in the 50 back, which eclipsed the mark of 23.80 set by Russia’s Kliment Kolesnikov in 2021.
Armstrong established an American record in the morning prelims — then went even faster in the evening.
“It was a complete shock,” he said. “My best time before this was a 25.50 and in prelims I was able to throw down a 24.00 and that gave me hope, but you know Kolesnikov is one of the fastest backstrokers and freestylers in the world. To be up there with him is just incredible.”