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Cal Swimming: Farida Osman Sets Egyptian, African Records at World Championships

The 27-year-old ex-Cal star had her fastest time in six years in the 100-meter butterfly.

Former Cal swimmer Farida Osman set Egyptian national and African continental records in the 100-meter butterfly at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary on Sunday.

Osman, 27, finished seventh in the 100 fly finals with a time of 57.66 seconds that eclipsed the Egyptian national record 57.76 she set the day before in the preliminary round. That was her fastest time in six years and lowered her own national record of 57.83, set in 2016.

She broke the African continental record of 57.67 set in 2019 by South Africa's Erin Gallagher. She is the only non-South African among the five fastest all-time from Africa in the event 

According to the website SwimSwam, Farida gained her advantage over Gallagher's mark by swimming the first 50 meters in 0.19 seconds faster than Gallagher her three years ago, recording a split of 26.37, before holding on over the final 50.

Osman swam 57.91 in Saturday semifinals to advance to the championship race for the first time in her career. American Torre Huske, who recently completed her freshman season at Stanford, won Sunday’s 100 butterfly final with a time of 55.64.

Osman captured bronze medals in the 50 butterfly at the past two World Championships.

Osman swam at Cal from 2014 through ’17, and as a senior won the 100 fly at the NCAA championships while also anchoring winning teams in the 200 free relay and 200 medley relay.

A two-time Olympian, Osman was born in Indianapolis but raised in Cairo.

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She also is the African record holder in the 50 butterfly (25.39) and the 50 free (24.62).

Osman will swim the prelims of the 50 butterfly on Thursday and is entered in the 50 free prelims on Friday.

Osman had trained in Virginia leading the Olympics last year but after the Games took a break from swimming then relocated to Cairo in order to create a “pressure-free” approach to the sport, she told the Arab News.

“I’m just doing this for myself,” Osman said in the interview with the Arab News in December. “I know I can do so much better than what I did in Tokyo, so I feel like this is a way to prove to myself that it was a mishap and something just went wrong and it’s not like I’m no longer a good swimmer. So, this is something that I’m excited about.

“I’m taking this year to just focus on myself. I want to just swim for myself. I want to enjoy it again. I want to feel happy that I’m swimming again.”

By improving to seventh place from 20th in the 100 fly at the 2021 Olympics, it appears Osman’s strategy worked.

Photo of Farida Osman at the 2021 Olympics by Rob Schumacher, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo