Athing Mu – Texas A&M Freshman Breaks NCAA Record in 400 Meters


The records continue to fall with Athing Mu on the track.

On Saturday, May 29, the Texas A&M freshman broke the collegiate record in the women’s 400 meters, winning the NCAA Preliminary West Round in 49.68. Mu’s performance on her home track in Bryan-College Station, Texas, bests the previous collegiate record of 49.71, set by Courtney Okolo in 2016.

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Behind Mu in heat 2, Kaelin Roberts of USC finished second in 50.82, also a personal best. Stacey Ann Williams of Texas won the third heat in 50.34, Charokee Young, also of Texas A&M, finished second in the third heat in 50.85, and Bailey Lear won the first heat in 51.21 to round out the top five runners in the 400 meters.

The top 12 in each event move on to the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships, held June 9 through 12 in Eugene, Oregon.

Starting in lane 6, Mu made up the stagger on her opponent within the first 200 meters of the race. By the time she reached the homestretch, Mu had a sizable lead over Roberts and continued to extend that distance with a lean into the finish line. In the process, she also became the fastest U-20 woman in U.S. history, according to the USTFCCCA.

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Mu has been trending toward a historic time in the one-lap distance. On May 15, she came close to breaking the record at the SEC Outdoor Track and Field Championships, where she won the conference title in 49.84, an SEC record. At the time, it was the third-fastest 400 meters in NCAA history.

The 400-meter record is the latest in a collection of all-time bests that Mu has set this season. On April 17, she shattered the collegiate record in the 800 meters by running 1:57.73 at the Michael Johnson Invitational. That performance is still the fastest 800 meters run in the world so far this year. She also became the 10th-fastest American woman in history.

In February, she broke the collegiate indoor record by running 1:58.40 to win the SEC indoor 800-meter title. She anchored the Aggies’ record-setting 4×400-meter relay team at the Tyson Invitational on February 13. And she smashed a nearly 40-year-old collegiate record in the 600 meters by running 1:25.80 at the Texas Aggie Invitational on January 23.

Mu’s next race will be the first round of the 400 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

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