Courtney Okolo, the UT senior from Carrollton, shattered her own NCAA 400-meter record at the LSU Meet on Saturday. Okolo became the first college runner to break the 50-second barrier when she ran 49.71 on Saturday.
She had held the previous collegiate record of 50.03 from the ’14 Big 12 Champs, but destroyed that. She now ranks 13th all time among American women, behind former UT standout Sanya Richards-Ross’ time of 48.70, set in 2006 at the IAAF World Cup in Athens.
The women’s world 400-meter record is 47.60, set in 1985 by Marita Koch of East Germany. That time has long been under scrutiny as it came during the height of state-sponsored doping. Only three women have broken the 49 second barrier since the 1996 Atlanta Games – Richards-Ross, Marie-Jose Perec (’96), and Cathy Freeman (’96).
For her part, Okolo thinks she still has something left. “I definitely think I can run faster, but the last 100 was rough.”