Regan Smith is a competitive swimmer who represents the United States internationally. She is the 2019 World champion in the 200 back, and 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.