Historic! Persaud breaks national record at Tokyo Olympic Games
Though she failed to qualify for the semi-finals, Guyana’s youngest ever Olympian Aleka Persaud made a huge statement in her first Olympics, breaking the country’s national record in an impressive showing in her Heat on Friday morning.
The 15-year-old finished second in Heat Four with a time of 27.76s, a new Personal Best, eclipsing her entry time of 28.10s. She is now the first female Guyanese swimmer ever to go under 28s.
“I’m very proud of her,” Persaud’s coach Sean Baksh told News Room Sport in an invited comment.
“She’s only 15 and was out of the pool for most of last year actually; we only started training in the water this year.”
Persaud had reset the Women’s 50m freestyle national record in June to 28.10s, replacing the 28.15s held by another Olympian Brittany van Lange since March 2014.
According to FINA (International Swimming Federation), Persaud also holds the long course National records in the 100m Butterfly (01:08.52s) and 200m Medley (02:42.42s), all accomplished when she was just 13-years-old at the 2019 CARIFTA Championships in Barbados.
Meanwhile, Judith Meauri of Papua New Guinea won the Heat with a time of 27.56s, but she also did not secure in a spot in the semi-finals.
The athletes with the 16 fastest times made the cut for the next round.