US sprinter Sydney McLaughlin (© Getty Images)
Sydney McLaughlin’s season debut in the 400m hurdles did not disappoint.
After an indoor season in which she recorded times of 22.68 for 200m, a world U20 best of 36.12 for 300m and a world U20 record of 50.36 for 400m, McLaughlin’s sensational form continued outdoors.
She opened with a 200m PB of 22.39, followed it one day later with a 400m PB of 50.07 and then clocked a wind-assisted 11.07 for 100m two weeks later.
McLaughlin’s range is superb for an athlete of any age. It is even more impressive given she is still an U20 athlete. And it’s nothing short of incredible considering that none of the flat sprint events are her main event.
Understandably, many people were keen to see what McLaughlin could do in her specialist event, the 400m hurdles, at the National Relay Championships, held on Friday and Saturday (27-28) in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Video - @GoSydGo 400m hurdles season opener 53.60 breaks her world junior record (pending ratification). No. 4 #NCAATF all-time list (fastest ever by an underclassman) #UKTF #AlwaysForwardhttps://t.co/C4Y4OPhWOs pic.twitter.com/KCrucrl30u— UK Track & Field (@KentuckyTrack) April 27, 2018
Running a controlled race, the University of Kentucky student was never seriously challenged and crossed the line in a world U20 record* of 53.60, 0.22 quicker than her previous best. Not only is it a world-leading mark, it is also the fastest time any athlete has ever achieved before the month of May.
One day later, McLaughlin contributed to her university's success in the 4x100m and 4x400m.
They won both events by a comfortable margin, clocking 42.84 in the shorter relay and 3:27.07 in the longer event, thanks to a 49.47 split from McLaughlin.
Elsewhere, Tennessee’s Shania Collins set big PBs to win the 100m (11.10) and 200m (22.57). After winning her specialist event, the 100m hurdles, in a wind-assisted 12.53 (2.6m/s), Jasmine Camacho-Quinn finished second in the 200m in a PB of 22.69.
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF
*Pending the usual ratification procedure