That was the question everybody had when they saw somebody just destroy the field in the 100m back on Saturday. This mystery swimmer also managed to jam through a 100m IM in :56.83.

Now that results for the meet are posted I have an Answer for you – Derya Büyükuncu. Not exactly a household name here but he’s a pretty big deal in Turkey. He is a backstroker and butterflyer that has represented Turkey 4 times in Olympic competition. Derya swam the 100m back in :53.62 in Santa Clarita which is slightly more than 1 second slower than Aaron Peirsol’s gold medal winning time in Beijing. Derya didn’t swim as fast in China however. He went :55.43 in the 100m back, finished 30th and failed to make it to the semi-finals. He also swam the 200m back in the Olympics and finished 22nd.

I love that I can go to a masters meet and swim with a 4 time Olympian and also people 60 years older than me… how cool is that?

5 Responses to “Who Went :53 in the 100 Back in Santa Clarita?”

  1. Henry Halff says:

    I love that I can go to a workout and swim with an Olympian, who can wear tennies in the water and still go faster than anyone else.

  2. Scott says:

    He could wear water wings and go faster than anyone else.

  3. Rob D says:

    It was really impressive to see someone that good in person. I think it’s pretty cool that someone of that caliber would show up to a random masters meet in Santa Clarita. I’ll be curious to see if this guy shows up in Long Beach.

  4. Ahelee says:

    Hi Rob!

    I found your blog via My friend Tony Austin…

    How fun to read your post about Derya!

    I am the assistant coach at Nova Masters. Derya is a long time NOVA swimmer but still a citizen of Turkey. He swam in school here and along side all the great NOVA Olympians like Aaron Piersol.

    Derya is like Jason Lezak in that he coaches himself. He trains like clockwork every single day in the lane next to the masters at 10:00am.

    I’m a relatively new backstroker – and have not really received a whole lot of coaching in the technique. But I have learned SO much by watching Derya train day after day.

    He is a wonderful guy – has a beautiful (and fast swimming!) wife – and has been in school until just recently.

    You should see the times he posts up at practices – all on his own. Pretty unbelievable.

    I have been trying to get him to join us at masters meets for more than a year! Unfortunately for us he will be going to Europe for 2 meets in December and so won’t swim at the regionals in Long Beach.

    Very sorry I missed that Santa Clarita Meet. It was one of the very few I have missed since coaching here at Nova Masters.
    Derya broke the master world record in that 100 back and just missed the 50 record in his split time by .20 – the same in the 100 IM! He will get them next time.

    Hope to meet you in Long Beach.
    Nice job on the blog!

  5. Rob D says:

    Ahelee thanks for the extra background info. I can imagine that everyone would feel just fine about letting Derya have his own lane in practice! It’s almost shocking to see someone swim that fast in person. Too bad he’s going to miss Long Beach I was hoping to see him in action again! Hopefully you can talk him into going to more masters meets in ’09.

    Do you think he would have the time/interest to do a little e-mail interview for the web site? If you think he might be interested shoot me an e-mail at and I’ll put some questions together. Thanks!