USATF Women’s 400H — WR #3 For McLaughlin

Sydney McLaughlin looked smooth in lowering her own World Record to 51.41. (KEVIN MORRIS)

AT THIS POINT, it is not Sydney McLaughlin vs. Dalilah Muhammad. Or vs. the clock.

It is Sydney McLaughlin vs. the points. And vs. the otherworldly World Records of Flojo.

Barring misstep, it was a foregone conclusion that McLaughlin would win the 400H here, and win convincingly. Muhammad, with a bye to the WC as reigning champion, pulled out before the meet, citing minor injury. Other than the Netherlands’ Femke Bol, there is no one else in their strata.

Running out of lane 5, McLaughlin had already built a lead of 0.34 over Anna Cockrell by the first hurdle (see results for McLaughlin’s set of touchdowns) and stretched it to 0.57 by 7. And from there, the margin expanded.

The final time of 51.41 was McLaughlin’s third WR, breaking the mark of 51.46 from last August at the Olympics, which in turn had broken her 51.90 from the OT. Absurdly, her time here would have advanced to the final of the flat 400 (51.42 made the cut).

“I think there’s still things I could work on,” she said. “I think there’s a little bit more in the tank there. So hopefully when it comes time, we can just empty it completely.”

On the WA scoring tables McLaughlin’s time is worth 1288 points, or the same as 10.60 and 21.53 for 100 and 200m. But if she can slip under 51 seconds — quite plausible — that would be worth 1302.

Then, we’re talking Florence Griffith Joyner territory. Flojo’s 10.49 and 21.34 are valued at 1314 and 1308, respectively. That might be comparative gobbledygook, but this isn’t: from Kim Batten’s 52.61 through ’18, the WR dropped just 0.27 seconds in 23 years. Four McLaughlin/Muhammad meetings produced four WRs from July ’19 through August ’21, and now the WR has been lowered by nearly a second (0.93) in less than 3 years.

“We know what we need to fix to get ready to come back for Worlds,” McLaughlin said. “I’m really excited for what’s to come. I think me and my coach are in a great place mentally.”

It has been a momentous year in her personal life – she wed Andre Levrone Jr. on May 05 — but it has not inhibited her performance. She eased through heats and semifinals in 54.11 and 52.90.

NCAA champion Britton Wilson of Arkansas closed fast to finish 2nd in a PR 53.08. The battle for 3rd was a thriller, Tokyo finalist Cockrell closing on Shamier Little hard, Little totally losing her steps on the last hurdle, then recovering to outlean Cockrell 53.92–53.98.

Ashley Spencer, the ’16 Olympic bronze medalist, tripped over the first hurdle and did not finish.

McLaughlin went on to say that having a worlds on U.S. soil “would bring more shine” to the sport.

“So I really hope we can just go out and represent our country well, represent our sport well. Ultimately, just put on a show for the world, you know?”

McLaughlin does so in virtually every race. At 22, living in Los Angeles, she is better positioned than any U.S. track & field athlete to become a sports celebrity on the level of a Serena Williams or a Simone Biles. McLaughlin would be 28 at the ’28 LA Olympics.


WOMEN’S 400H RESULTS

FINAL (June 25)

1. Sydney McLaughlin (NBal) 51.41 WR, AR (old WR, AR 51.46 McLaughlin ’21)

(touchdowns: 6.06, 3.91 [9.97], 4.11 [14.08], 4.19 [18.27], 4.40 [22.67], 4.51 [27.18], 4.52 [31.70], 4.65 [36.35], 4.83 [41.18], 4.77 [45.95], 5.46)

2. Britton Wilson (unat) 53.08 PR (10, x A);

3. Shamier Little (adi) 53.92;

4. Anna Cockrell (Nik) 53.98;

5. Shannon Meisberger (Az) 55.39 PR;

6. Masai Russell (Ky) 55.66;

7. Lauren Hoffman (Duke) 56.00;

… dnf—Ashley Spencer (Nik).

HEATS (June 23)

I–1. McLaughlin 54.11; 2. Spencer 55.79; 3. Kaila Barber (Tracksm) 56.00; 4. Hoffman 56.08; 5. Riley Knebes (unat) 58.38; 6. Asia Jinks (Aub) 59.80; 7. Simone Wilson (ConcCh) 60.20.

II–1. Russell 56.51; 2. Deonca Bookman (Tracksm) 57.41; 3. Jessica Wright (How) 57.56; 4. Shani’a Bellamy (CCar) 57.94; 5. Kaitlin Walker (unat) 62.08; 6. Alexia Dehaven (unat) 64.86;… dnc—Dalilah Muhammad (Nik).

III–1. Little 55.50; 2. Cassandra Tate (unat) 55.89; 3. Meisberger 55.95; 4. Vanessa Watson (Fl) 57.53; 5. Nissi Kabongo (SFA) 58.07; 6. Erin Dowd (Ia) 58.20.

IV–1. Wilson 55.79; 2. Cockrell 56.42; 3. Deshae Wise (TxAM) 56.52; 4. Bianca Stubler (Wi) 56.60; 5. Abigail Glynn (Co) 58.31; 6. Paige Magee (Ia) 58.43.

SEMIS (June 24)

I–1. McLaughlin 52.90; 2. Russell 55.02 PR; 3. Spencer 55.19; 4. Meisberger 55.61 PR; 5. Hoffman 56.19; 6. Bookman 56.24; 7. Wright 57.09; 8. Bellamy 58.47.

II–1. Wilson 55.32; 2. Cockrell 55.54; 3. Little 55.60; 4. Tate 56.26; 5. Stubler 57.15; 6. Barber 57.41; 7. Watson 58.67; 8. Wise 59.42. ◻︎

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