Regan Smith is a competitive swimmer who represents the United States internationally. She is a 2021 Olympian and 4x world champion. Regan broke world records in the 100 and 200 backstroke at the 2019 World Championships.
Neither of her parents had a swimming background so they signed Regan up for swim lessons, and she took to it, well, like a fish to water.
13-14 Year Old
In December 2016, Smith was honored as the 13-14 year old female swimmer of the year. Smith was first honored by being named to the U.S. National Junior Team. Additionally, at the 2016 Sammy Awards, Smith was named 13-14 year old Age Group Swimmer of the Year. She placed in the top three in 14 out of 28 possible events. She set Short Course National Age Group Records in the 100 Yard Back, 51.09 and 100 Fly, 51.73. She also set a Long Course National Age Group Record in the 100M back, 1:00.26.
15 Year Old
Smith continued her record breaking performances by becoming the 7th 15 year old to break one minute in the 100m Backstroke with the time of 59.74.
2017 US World Championship Trials
Regan made the US Team by placing second in the 200m backstroke with a time of 2:08.55, losing out the winner, Kathleen Baker.
2017 FINA World Championships
Smith broke a junior world record in semifinals of the 200 backstroke at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest. Smith, the youngest member of the U.S. World Championships team, put up a gutsy swim in a heat full of seasoned international veterans. Swimming next to Olympic silver medalist Katinka Hosszu, Smith went out patient and swam by Hosszu in the back half. Though both fell behind Russia’s Daria Ustinova down the stretch, Smith still took second in the heat in 2:07.19, and moved on to the finals. In the final heat, Regan put up a time of 2:07.42, just off her semi’s time, which got her 8th place overall.
2017 World Junior Championships
Coming off of her first senior international meet, Regan was slated for a big schedule at the world junior championships, competing in the 50m, 100m, and 200m back as well as the 50m and 100m fly. Regan placed 13th in prelims in the 50 fly, but scratched to focus on the 100 back. She went on to win the 100 back in the world junior record time of 59.11. As the meet progressed she captured gold in the 200 back (2:07.45) and 4th in the 50 back (28.12, .01 away from bronze), as well as helped team USA to a silver in the mixed 4×100 medley relay (58.95 on the back split).
2018 Pro Swim Series – Santa Clara
Regan swam unshaven at the 2018 Pro Swim Series Santa Clara, still managing to achieve a few lifetime best swims, notably in the 200m butterfly (2:10.47 ) on the night of a tough double where she won the 100m backstroke (59.75), .8 off of her best time. See her post race interview below:
2018 U.S. National Championships
Smith earned her first national title in the 200 backstroke (2:06.43) by tying for first with Kathleen Baker, qualifying her for the Pan Pac team. Smith also finished third in the 200 butterfly (2:07.42) and 100 backstroke (58.83) at the Phillips 66 National Championships. She also placed 13th in the 100 butterfly (59.06, after posting a 58.83 in the prelims).
2018 Pan Pacific Championships
On day 2, Regan swam the 100 back, ultimately touching 4th behind teammate Kathleen Baker in a time of 58.95 to just miss the medals. On day 3 she swam the 100 fly, where she made the B-final and wound up 2nd in the heat (58.62) behind teammate Katie McLaughlin. She finished off her pan pacs performance with a bronze in the women’s 200 back, touching for third in a time of 2:06.46, her first major international medal.
2018 Winter Junior Championships – West
Regan kept her momentum going into the short course season, where at winter jr’s she and her coach decided to swim some “off” events. This yielded her wins in the 500 free (4:37.10), 200 free (1:43.27), and 200 fly (1:51.24) the last of which broke a 36-year-old NAG held by Mary T. Meagher.
2018 Age Group Swimmer of the Year – 15-16
Regan Smith earned her second consecutive Swammy Award in this age group after a stellar 2018. Not only did she break records left and right, but Smith blew away the competition in heretofore “off” events as well.
2019 Cary Sectionals
It did not take Regan long to start breaking records as a 17-year-old. In March of 2019 at the Cary Sectionals, Regan went a slew of best times throughout the meet, including 50.45 in the 100 fly, 48.07 in the 100 free (relay leadoff), and 49.74 in the 100 back individually (closing in on the American record and shattering the 17-18 NAG). In the final session of the meet is where Smith shined most however, not only breaking the American record in the 200 back in 1:47.16, but just an hour later leading off her teams 400 medley relay in 49.66, nabbing the AR in the 100 back by .01.
Spring World Junior Record Rampage in Indiana
In May at the 2019 TYR Pro Swim in Bloomington, 17 year-old Smith took gold in the 100 back and clipped her own world junior record by the smallest of margins. She put up a 58.82 to lower the record of 58.83 she set last summer at the USA National Championships. 4 weeks later at the Counsilman Classic in Indianapolis, Smith reset that record in prelims of the 100 back, clocking a 58.55. In finals, she set the record for the third time in 1 month as she dropped another tenth, touching at 58.45.
2019 World Championships
In her lone event in Gwangju, Regan Smith made the most of it. Breaking her own world junior record in prelims with a time of 2:06.43, Smith roared to a commanding lead in the semi finals, not backing down at all to smash Missy Franklin’s world record in a time of 2:03.35, solidifying her 1st seed heading into finals by over 3 seconds.
In the final heat, Smith was out nearly 1 second under her own world record pace at the 100, and held on to dominate the heat and touch for 1st in 2:03.69, marking her first world medal and first world title.
Because of her sensational 200 back, Smith got the nod to lead off the 400 medley rely in finals on the last day of the meet. Regan made the most of the opportunity, smashing the 100 back world record with a 57.57 lead-off en-route to the American women breaking their own WR by over 1 second.
2019 Year in Review SwimSwam Cover
Regan graced the cover of the 2019 Year in Review issue of the SwimSwam magazine after her stunning performance at the 2019 world champs. That meet marked her ascension into the elite of the sport, as well as her place in history.
2019 Swammy Awards
For her sensational year in short course and long course, Regan Smith earned the Age Group Swimmer of the Year (17-18), World Jr Female Swimmer of the Year, and overall Female Swimmer of the Year Swammy awards.
2020 Swammy Awards
In an age group with a plethora of talent, Regan Smith stood out again in 2020. Smith followed her extraordinary 2019, in which she broke World Records in the 100m back and 200m back, with a pair of National Age Group Records in the 100m fly and 200m fly at Pro Swim Series Des Moines in March. She first took down Katie McLaughlin’s 200 fly NAG (2:06.95) with 2:06.39. It was a PB by nearly a second and her first time under 2:07, and it moved her to #7 on the all-time list of American women in the event. The next day she lowered her own NAG in the 100m fly twice. In prelims, she went 57.75. In finals, she took another .41 off the NAG to settle it at 57.34. It was the third time she had rewritten that record this year. She first broke Katie McLaughlin’s 2015 mark of 57.87 in January, going 57.86 at PSS Knoxville.
For her performances, Regan once again was awarded the Swammy for US 17-18 Female of the Year.
2021 Olympic Trials
On night 3 in Omaha, Regan Smith qualified for her first Olympic Games, touching first with a time of 58.35 in the 100 back. Smith kept the ball rolling on night 5, touching 2nd in the 200 fly in 2:06.99 to give her a 2nd event in Tokyo. In the event she held the world record in, the 200 back, Regan looked strong going out, but faded in the final 50 meters to touch for 3rd, missing the team in that event.
2020 Olympic Games
Smith started her first Olympic Games off strong, breaking an Olympic record in prelims of the 100 back (57.96). Kaylee McKeown broke it in the next heat at 57.88, but Smith got it back in the semi-finals, registering 57.86 to take the top seed heading into the final. In the final, Smith touched 3rd at 58.05, earning a bronze as her first Olympic medal.
Smith was back in the 200 fly, moving through prelims and semis to earn a lane in the final. In the final heat, Regan swam a controlled race upfront, pushing it on the last 50 and passing her US teammate Hali Flickinger to earn silver behind China’s Zhang Yufei.
Smith finished her Games in 2 relays, first swimming the prelims of the mixed 400 medley relay, leading off in 57.64 to help USA advance to the final, where they would finish 5th overall. Then Regan swam in the final of the 400 medley relay, leading off in 58.05 to help USA to a silver.
2022 World Championships
To start her meet, Regan Smith qualified for the 100 back final, dropping a 57.65 in the semi-finals to go into the final as the top seed. She held seed in the final, touching first in 58.22 in a gritty race that saw the 200 back world champion win her first title in the 100 back, dethroning Kylie Masse who had won the last 2 titles and earned silver in this edition.
Smith placed 4th in the 200 fly final, clocking a 2:06.79, .47 behind 3rd place Zhang Yufei. SHe finished her meet by helping team USA to a win in the 400 medley relay leading off in 58.40.
2023 U.S. International Team Trials (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Smith took care of business in her first race, the 200 fly. She looked controlled as she posted the top time of the morning in 2:06.80. Smith was out at the 100 in 59.69, just .11 seconds off her American and U.S. Open record pace (59.58). She came back in 1:07.11, easily holding off a late charge from Emma Sticklen in the final circle-seeded heat. In the final Smith dominated the field from the start; she won in 2:05.79, off her American Record from just a few weeks prior but enough to secure her spot in Fukuoka.
In the 200 back prelims, Smith posted a measured 2:06.83 for the top seed. In the finals, Smith led the field from wire to wire with a 2:03.80 U.S. Open Record. “I haven’t been 2:03 in 4 years and I’m just so happy to be back where I was,” said Smith post-race. The swim will let Smith contest the event she first became known for for the first time since 2019 when she set the world record on an international stage.
In the 50 back, it was the American Record holder Katharine Berkoff who led the prelims with a world-leading 27.27 while Smith sat 2nd with a 27.44. They both were near their best times of 27.12 and 27.25 from the last edition of Trials. In the final, the two did not disappoint as they very nearly tied for first but Berkoff (27.13) was able to edge Smith (27.14) by just .01 seconds as she missed the American Record by just .01 seconds. Smith can still qualify for Worlds in this event if she wins the 100 back.
Smith was able to do just that, and in U.S. Open fashion. She went for it in prelims with a 58.04, faster than nearly anyone not named Regan Smith, Kylie Masse, or Kaylee McKeown has ever been. Flanking her in the final was the 50 back winner Berkoff and the fast-improving Kennedy Noble. In the final, smith was out under the world record pace but faded slightly relative to Berkoff. The swim of 57.71 was still good enough for 1st, a new U.S. Open Record, and the 8th fastest time in history.
2023 World Aquatics Championships (Fukuoka, Japan)
Smith opened her meet with the 100 back. She led prelims (58.47) and semis (58.33). In finals, she was out quick in 27.95 but Kaylee McKeown reeled her in over the back half and Smith settled for silver in a 57.78 while McKeown, with a 57.53, broke Smith’s old championship record set in 2019.
Smith ripped an American record to lead the way in the 50 back semi. Smith took down Kathrine Berkoff’s record of 27.12, hitting 27.10. Smith also ties the Netherland’s Kira Toussaint as the third-fastest performer of all-time in the women’s 50 back. Just a little later, she put up a 2:06.83 in the 200 fly semifinals. Earlier, Smith had a near miss as she took on the same double in prelims and was 2:10.80 for 15th.
She took on the same double one last time in the final and came away with a medal in each. In the 200 fly, Smith was 3rd as Elizabeth Dekkers passed her down the stretch. Smith was 2.52 seconds back from Summer McIntosh’s Winning time with a 2:06.58. Smith’s season best of 2:03.87 would have won. She wrapped up her double with a strong 27.11 for 2nd, just .03 behind McKeown and just .01 off her American Record.
Smith led the 200 back prelims with a 2:07.04 and was 2nd the semis with a 2:07.52. She turned it on in the finals, out in 1:00.26 to lead at the 100, but McKeown reeled her in over the 3rd 50 and passed smith down the stretch as Smith scored silver in 2:04.94. To wrap her meet, Smith scorched 57.68 to lead the American women to gold in the 400 medley relay.
When SwimSwam put out the Way Too Early Ranks for the high school class of 2020, Regan Smith was ranked as the #1 recruit in the class. When the actual Recruit Ranks came out a year later, Regan maintained her #1 spot on the list. Regan maintained her dominance a year after that, claiming the #1 spot in the class of 2020’s Re-rank as well.
On June 30, 2019, Regan Smith announced her verbal commitment to Stanford. After the COVID-19 Lockdown and the announcement that the 2020 Olympic Games would be postponed for a year, Smith decided to defer her enrollment to Stanford for a year to stay with her club coach, Mike Parrato, in preparation for the Olympics.
Her freshman year, Regan made an immediate impact on the Stanford team. At her first Pac-12 Championships, she won the 100 back (49.50) and the 200 fly (1:50.99) as well as finished 2nd in the 100 fly (49.87) behind her teammate, Torri Huske. Smith also helped Stanford in its sweep of the relays, swimming on the winning 400 free, 800 free, 200 medley, and 400 medley relays.
At her first NCAA Championships, Smith took on a tough day 4 double of 200 back-200 fly. After helping Stanford to a 10th place finish in the 200 medley relay, a national title in the 800 free relay, and dual 3rd place finishes in the 100 back (49.96) and 400 medley relay, Smith shined on the last day of competition. She started the last session of the meet by winning her first individual NCAA title in the 200 back in 1:47.76. She came back less than 2 hours later to tie for 2nd in the 200 fly, registering a 1:51.19 to touch simultaneously with defending champion Olivia Carter. Smith finished night 4 on Stanford’s 400 free relay, where she split 47.74 on the 3rd leg to help the cardinal to a 2nd place finish.
After her lone season on the Farm at Stanford, Regan Smith announced she would turn pro and move to Tempe, Arizona to train with Bob Bowman’s pro group at Arizona State.