2019 Swammy Awards: Female Swimmer of the Year Regan Smith

To see all of our 2019 Swammy Awards, click here. 

2019 FEMALE SWIMMER OF THE YEAR: REGAN SMITH (USA)

The 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju saw U.S. teen star Regan Smith win her first career Worlds title. On top of that, she set 2 individual World Records at the meet despite swimming only the 200 back individually.

She took her first World Record down in the 200 back semifinals. Smith became the first woman to break 2:04 and erased the former mark by Olympic champion Missy Franklin. Though she didn’t match her record in the final, she still dominated for gold.

She made history again as the leadoff of the women’s 4×100 medley relay, becoming the first woman to break 58 in that event. Her team went on to break the women’s 4×100 medley relay World Record. She now has 3 World Records and 2 World Championships titles to her name at 17 years old.

You might already be typing up a comment wondering why Smith is the World Swimmer of the Year when she didn’t win U.S. Swimmer of the Year. Allow us to give some rationale. First off, our staff felt that Regan Smith and Simone Manuel were pretty much a toss-up for both awards – either one could have justifiably won either or both. However, Manuel felt like a stronger candidate for U.S. Swimmer, as what was most impressive about her year was how she carried Team USA in the medal count and on the relays in a meet where the Americans largely struggled. Smith, meanwhile, had the world records and crushed the world ranks, starring from a ‘World’ perspective, albeit in a very limited appearance at the World Championships.

Smith also took down multiple 17-18 NAG Records, American Records, and World Junior Records in 2019. She now owns both the World Junior Records and World Records in the 100 and 200 backstrokes. A month after turning 17 at Cary Sectionals, she broke the American Records in both the 100 back and 200 back, though that 100 back record was broken later that month by Beata Nelson.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

In no particular order

  • Simone Manuel (USA)- With her victory in the 100 free at Worlds, Manuel earned back-to-back titles in the event. She also won her first career 50 free Worlds gold. Manuel was a part of the gold-winning World Record USA relays in the mixed 4×100 free and women’s 4×100 medley. She also earned silvers for the women’s 4×100 free, women’s 4×200 free, and mixed 4×100 medley. That made Manuel the first woman to earn 7 medals in a single Worlds meet.
  • Katinka Hosszu (HUN)- Hosszu became the first woman to 4-peat in an event at Worlds as she took gold in the 200 IM. She later earned a 4-peat in the 400 IM to boot. At the 2019 SC European Championships, Hosszu became the winningest female in the history of the meet. She now has 20 career SC Euros gold medals. In the 2019 FINA World Cup, Hosszu achieved her 300th gold medal.
  • Lilly King (USA)- King won 4 medals at Worlds, defending her titles in the 50 and 100 breaststrokes. She was a member of the World Record women’s 4×100 medley team and earned silver for the mixed 4×100 medley. Swimming for the Cali Condors, King went undefeated in the breaststroke races in the 2019 ISL season. She made it 4-for-4 in both breaststrokes at the NCAA Championships, becoming the first woman to do so. She was also the first woman to break 56 in the 100 yard breast.

Previous Winners:

  • 2013 – Katinka Hosszu (HUN)
  • 2014 – Katie Ledecky (USA)
  • 2015 – Katie Ledecky (USA)
  • 2016 – Katie Ledecky (USA)
  • 2017 – Sarah Sjostrom (SWE)
  • 2018 – Katie Ledecky (USA)
  • 2019 – Regan Smith (USA)

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Bo Swims
1 year ago

👍 Regan

Lille
1 year ago

No mentioning of Sarah Sjostrom?

Benedict Arnold Schwarzenegger
Reply to  Lille
1 year ago

The same Sarah Sjostrom who didn’t go lifetime bests and was upset in 3/4 of her primary races at World’s?

HonestObserver
1 year ago

Good choice, good rationale.

Ragnar
1 year ago

wHY WaSNt rEgAns 57.57 tImE uSeD FoR tHe NaTIonAl tEaM sElECtIoN????!!!
Good job regan, a new legend in the building!!!

Swimmer
Reply to  Ragnar
1 year ago

They don’t use relay lead-offs for the national team rankings

That joke went over your head
Reply to  Swimmer
1 year ago

Whoosh

leisurely1:29
Reply to  Swimmer
1 year ago

r/whoosh

Thomas
1 year ago

What will it take for Manuel to get the award in 2020? An individual WR?

3344
Reply to  Thomas
1 year ago

yes, yes it will. good observation

Yozhik
Reply to  Thomas
1 year ago

There is an area where Regan Smith and Simone Manuel will compete against each other in 2020 season. That is the place in possibly victorious Olympic 4×200 relay and numbers of Olympic gold medals. Simone may have 6 medals. Regan 5 ones. Both have chances for two individual gold medals. And here Regan has advantage compare to Simone being well ahead of the pack. Relays? They could be all the same with the exception of 4×100 free where the gold isn’t that obvious and in others they can be both. Where the coach’s selection opinion is involved it is hard to predict.
Overall chances of Regan to be the #1 are higher. Unless there would be indeed a world… Read more »

Breezeway
1 year ago

I’m cool with this. Smith/Manuel or Manuel/Smith. Can go either way. Props to both. Great years!

spectatorn
Reply to  Breezeway
1 year ago

… but for comment section firework and for argument sake…

Simone should get this award

🙂

Breezeway
Reply to  spectatorn
1 year ago

🤣 I’m good with either one, but if I argued for Simone, its “something” other than actual results and respect. I’ll let you start the fireworks this time

spectatorn
Reply to  Breezeway
1 year ago

haha, I can’t…. cause I think this award – “swimmer of the year” – should go to Lilly King who performed all year round at a very high level in different format – from NCAA to World to ISL – and being undefeated in her individual events in all of them (okay, she got dq in her 200 breast at World so we won’t know that one). I have stated the same in the other award for US female swimmer of the year.

Dopersanonymous
Reply to  spectatorn
1 year ago

Yeah, easy to beat everyone when your best competition isn’t eligible for 2 of those 3, and you avoided her in 1/3 races at the one she is eligible for…

French Toast Stewart
Reply to  Dopersanonymous
1 year ago

King raced Efimova 5 times this year. 3 times at FINA series in Indy and twice in Gwangju. She went 5 for 5, so your argument doesn’t really hold up.

Troyy
Reply to  French Toast Stewart
1 year ago

I think the DQ in the 200 at Gwangju should count as a loss.

Yup
1 year ago

The Swammys finally remembered Regan Smith exists…

Swammer
Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

You don’t think this was the plan the whole time?

ERVINFORTHEWIN
Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

Since August , she was among the most amazing swimmers of the past year ……without the shadow of a doubt

Joe
1 year ago

Just clocked that Simone Manuel won 5 medals at a World Champs just swimming 100 freestyles.

Makes my feeling about the addition of the mixed relays a little more … well, mixed

Mr Piano
Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

Yea, getting 6-8 medals like Phelps did doesn’t mean as much as it used to usually

torchbearer
Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

Yeh, I mentioned this with Dressels win too.
I think about a swimmer like Dawn Fraser that had one relay- if she had four like today she would have won more like 17 Olympic medals..

Bubalaa
Reply to  torchbearer
1 year ago

She too old

Samesame
Reply to  torchbearer
1 year ago

It is a bit crazy really. Maybe we should encourage the kids to all be 100 freestylers 😂.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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