How Did Regan Smith Bounce Back from Mono To Break A U.S. Open Record?

Three-time Olympic medalist Regan Smith may have had the best in-season meet of her life at the Westmont Pro Swim, highlighted by her U.S. Open record in the 100 backstroke:

  • 100m butterfly – 56.36 – personal best, shaving nearly three tenths from her 56.60
  • 200m butterfly – 2:04.80 – 2nd best personal performance in this event
  • 100m backstroke – 57.64 – new U.S. Open Record, Pro Swim Series Record, #10 on the all-time performance list
  • 200m backstroke – 2:03.99 – not a record, but higher on the all-time performance list at #7

Regan’s performance came only six weeks after recovering from Mono.  In this interview she unpacks how her illness impacted her physically and mentally considering we’re inside the Olympic training cycle.

Swimming Australia’s Kaylee McKeown just ripped a 57.57 100m backstroke at the NSW Championships.  That time ranks #6 on the all-time performance list, tied with Regan’s personal best time.  Interestingly, in our Gold Medal Minute interview with McKeown, after 2023 World Champs, she noted that she felt Regan could be the first women under the 57 second barrier in the 100m back.

I didn’t play the Regan Smith Prediction Game in this video, but after Kaylee’s 57.57 response to Regan’s 57.64 U.S. Open record, you might have your own thoughts.  I’m leaning toward Regan in Paris at this point, mostly because she ripped that 57.64 after her 2:04.8 200 fly (with only a 50 free between the events).  Regan is super-fit, making me bullish about her time with coach Bob Bowman, but we’re still early in the Olympic training cycle.  Provided she’s healthy throughout the spring and summer, I’m betting on Regan being more motivated and hungry for a higher podium position in Paris.

More context.  The 6 top all-time performances in women’s 100m back are owned by Kaylee, 57.33 – 57.57.  Regan’s tied with Kaylee at 57.57 at #6 on the list. That’s tight.  At the end of the day, I think time plus effort with coach Bob Bowman  — defined as more taper experience under Bowman — will net an impressive Regan 100m back this summer.

Top 10 LCM 100 Backstroke Performances All-Time

  1. 57.33 – Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 2023
  2. 57.45 – Kaylee McKeown, 2021
  3. 57.47 – Kaylee McKeown, 2021
  4. 57.50 – Kaylee McKeown, 2023
  5. 57.53 – Kaylee McKeown, 2023
  6. 57.57 – Regan Smith (USA), 2019 & 57.57 – Kaylee McKeown, 2024

But who cares what I think? I want to know what you think. Drop your comments below.

Follow Regan Smith on Instagram here.

Follow Gold Medal Mel Stewart on Instagram here.

RECENT EPISODE

Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.

In This Story

170
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of

170 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
gitech
1 month ago

The gold cannot be divided and we are all happy

bryan
1 month ago

is she going to stay with bob and asu

Oceanian
1 month ago

Oh Lord. Worried about reading the comments…

Better pour myself a stiff one..

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

Every time I open this post:

comment image

snailSpace
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Same, it has devolved into such a sh*tshow so suddenly.

Last edited 1 month ago by snailSpace
Spotted Zebra
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

I finally read deep enough into the comments section to encounter a note that said something like: “I’m glad that she was able to recover from her illness, and I wish her good health moving forward,” and it felt jarring; amid all the bickering and vitriol, these sincere wishes for an athlete’s health and wellbeing actually took me by surprise.

Personal Best
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

Nah, it is good to have this kind of discussion… hot takes and all. Including yours haha.

Outside of the big comps it’s good fun… when it’s civil.

Oceanian
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

You need to bring some of those ‘Aussie loving US swim fans’ into the SwimSwam forums. We could sure do with them at times lol 😉

PS – There are plenty of fair-minded US fans here already, I know. Just a few that are not that way.

Personal Best
1 month ago

I really enjoy Regan as a swimmer… I’m impressed by her versatility and her times.

As much as I would like to see Kaylee win both backstrokes at the OGs for her impressive legacy and swimming’s story, it would be great to see Regan win an individual OG gold medal. … maybe in the 2fly. :p She’s of that caliber.

Anyway, articles like this are harmless ‘fun’ – (cause it is fun for swim fans to speculate when done well) – and lead to some interesting discussions.

And you know that Kaylee is not discounting Regan based on past results.

Oceanian
Reply to  Personal Best
1 month ago

Every swimming fan should love a ‘Regan v Kaylee’ or ‘Arnie v Summer’ (etc etc etc) chat but sadly they can get really heated and nasty.

Often I think ‘would you really say that if both those athletes were here in the same room as you?’

Oceanian
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
30 days ago

*sings*

“Kumbaya My Mel. Kum-Fly-Ahh’ 😉

Last edited 30 days ago by Oceanian
Miss M
1 month ago

Love GMM’s love for Regan, but this weekend did not convince me that she is any more likely to topple Kaylee. Kaylee’s triple with 200 free PB, 2:08 IM and 27.3 50 back tell me that she is super fit too. It’s going to be super exiting come Paris.

Gold Medal Mel Stewart
Reply to  Miss M
1 month ago

True, that triple was impressive! She’s clearly fit, and she’s Kaylee….butI’m biased toward post 200 fly fast swims.

Robbos
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

Understandable.

Knotty Buoy
1 month ago

Good piece, Melvin!

Sub13
1 month ago

I have no problem with Mel repeatedly picking Regan to win every time (door is definitely open there) but the reasoning is always so vague. “She really wants it” and “Bowman is a good coach” seem to be the justification. Like, do you think she just didn’t care about winning for the last 5 years?

Gold Medal Mel Stewart
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

…as mentioned below, I picked the 2020 OG 100 back final 1,2 & 3 and Regan 3rd. I think Regan is a different place on this OG run-up.

Sub13
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

It just a bit of a lazy analysis. You said the same thing last year.

What do you have for McKeown? Is she going to be slower? Is she going to set a new PB but Smith destroys the old record?

McKeown just matched Regan’s PB in season. Regan swam a very great meet at Westmont but said she was “partially rested” which for her is essentially fully tapered since she swims better when partially rested.

Give us something to chew on rather than just “vibes”.

Gold Medal Mel Stewart
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

This is why I love and hate comments. There’s nowhere to hide! And your comment is 100% fair. I didn’t want to get too deep in the weeds until after Aussie and US Trials for obvious reasons.
Yes, I standby my opinion right now. Regan’s my choice in Paris. And my vague vibes? Back in 2019 I think Regan was on track to win gold at the 2020 OG. I think she got derailed by the pandemic, changing coaches going into college. Her 2020 OG was great, hard fought, but no individual gold. I think you’re more hungry when you don’t win—and had a real shot. For Kaylee, she’s defending her OG gold. That’s a very tough place to… Read more »

WillW
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

”. . . but Regan’s with an impressive coach with a long track record of success . . .”

Outside of Michael Phelps, just who exactly has Bob Bowman coached with a long track record of success? It’s as if Bob Bowman is the lone successful coach in the history of swimming. Bowman was in the right place at the right time when he crossed paths with Michael Phelps, who not only was a generational talent, but a unique talent in that there will only be one of him. Ever. So, it was all Bowman and not Phelps? You realize athletes make coaches, not the other way around. How many Super Bowls did Bill Belicick win as a head coach… Read more »

Super Man Dat Bowe
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

Allison Schmitt
Chase Kalisz

WillW
Reply to  Super Man Dat Bowe
1 month ago

Allison Schmitt, one individual Olympic gold medal in her career. Same with Chase Kalisz. Not sure either qualifies as a long track record of success. And no, I didn’t forget relays. Just my preference, but I don’t believe relay medals should count, since there are four legs and no single individual is responsible for a team’s ultimate successful, well outside of Jason Lezak in Beijing.

Super Man Dat Bowe
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

Rather than having us guess at your make-believe standards of coaching success, why don’t you define the terms and we’ll see who fits the bill? Much easier than us applying our own standards and you ramping up increasingly-impossible tiers so as to ensure your rightness.

WillW
Reply to  Super Man Dat Bowe
1 month ago

It’s never been about proving rightness. Those of us who were alive witnessed what Phil Jackson accomplished when he was head coach of the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, where he had arguably the best player to have ever played in Michael Jordan, and two top 10, if not top 5, players of all time in Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. But what did Jackson accomplished when he was head coach of the New York Knicks? Absolutely, nothing.

Bill Belichick went to 10 Super Bowls as head coach of New England. In all 10, Tom Brady, who is called by many to be the best quarterback ever in the NFL, was behind center. Six times New England won.… Read more »

WillW
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

This elite crew that is currently training in Tempe. How many were already elite before they arrived? Most? All? If the answer is yes to either or both, what is Bob being credited for? His ability to recruit. As for Marchand, I believe he has been called a generational talent for quite some time, a moniker once pinned to a 15-year-old by the name of Michael Phelps. And as you wrote, ”it’s not the Phelps, Schmitt or Kalisz stars that truly define a coach’s ability,” and yet you followed by adding Marchand to the conversation.

As for this elite crew, does it include a Ledecky? A Murphy? A Douglass? A Fink, or a Finke? What about two Walsh sisters? Or… Read more »

love watching all the champions
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

Other than those that swim for the ASU collegiate team, I could be wrong but I suspect Bob recruited exactly NONE of them.They chose to come to ASU, among multiple choices available to them, because they believed he would benefit their careers. They may have been in the top 8, but not top 2, many times. They may believe their best chance at making a team, at medaling, at a Gold, is with Bob, because he’s been there.

You mention Murphy. He’s a good example for a discussion like this. Murphiy came to Cal as a multi record setter in Age Group ranks and in National High School record ranks. To my understanding he’s been with Durden at Cal ever… Read more »

Oceanian
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

Even with those imports, has he got more impressive crews training for Paris than Bohl or Boxall? Or whoever is supposed to be the Chinese coach atm?

Last edited 1 month ago by Oceanian
WillW
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

When the Olympics and the World Championships award individual gold medals to the lead-off legs who touch first on all relays, then relays will matter. Until then, not so much.

Oceanian
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

Relays are the icing on the cake. But sporting immortality is all about the actual cake.

Ivymom
Reply to  Super Man Dat Bowe
1 month ago

Allison was already an OT qualifier by the time she switched to bowman

zThomas
Reply to  Super Man Dat Bowe
1 month ago

“Allison Schmitt Chase Kalisz”

Okay. But who else?

(sarcasm for those who need the cue).

Steve Nolan
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

Is it just me or did all of a sudden the most tedious commenters of all time start showing up recently?

Sub13
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

I don’t know if you remember Tokyo articles that well but it’s going to get way worse. If you go back and read the trials articles there is so much trolling and fighting, and SwimSwam is bigger now. Just enjoy the ride haha

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

I guess I just want the trolling and fighting to be funny or make sense. One’s alright, but can’t have neither like this guy.

(Who’s up here being insanely wrong about Bill Belichick but more confident about it than I have been about anything in my entire life is just…I can’t take it!!)

((Also like…Bowman has a stable of current and former world / olympic champs swimming for him literally right now what is this guy talking about!!??!))

WillW
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Since I don’t know, I can’t answer your question. And yes, I know rhetorical with I read it. But please, keep the descriptions coming.

Pan Fan
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

Don’t worry about Regan Smith doubling 200 fly/back schedule. Bob “Don” Bowman has taken care of it.

Sub13
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

To defend Mel on this specific point, I think he’s meaning “she swam a 57.6 right after a 200 fly so she might be significantly faster when fresh”. And she will be 100% fresh in Paris, 100 back heats and semis will (very likely) be her only swims at the meet before the final.

So it comes down to how much impact a double has. I don’t think he’s saying she deserves extra “points” for swimming a double

WillW
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

When Regan lost to Kaylee in Tokyo, was she fresh? When Regan got swept by Kaylee in Fukuoka, was she fresh? Starting with Tokyo, Kaylee has proven to be the best female backstroker in the world in every metric that is measurable. What’s changed to make anyone truly believe Paris won’t be more of the same? Regan changed coaches? Guess what, so did Kaylee. At the minimum, all you have to do is go by the ”eye test.” Who keeps touching the wall first?

WillW
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

Did they arrive the day before the meet? Or were they already in the same time zone weeks ahead of the Olympics? I know about time zone changes. It takes a body less than 48 hours to adapt.

Hooked on Chlorine
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

That was offset, however, by the endless slew of crappy American pop songs that they kept piping through the PA system. It’s a miracle that any Aussie won a gold medal in the pool with Katy Perry screeching. Frankly, I’d rather listen to cow bells.

WillW
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

Both swimmers define class, and it is refreshing to see two athletes wanting the best for the other, not just themselves. And I believe Kaylee’s sincerity when she said Regan could be the first woman under 57 seconds. I also believe Kaylee uses that comment as motivation, learning a lesson from Dean Boxall, who would yell Katie Ledecky’s name to challenge Ariadne Titmus to be better today than she was yesterday.

Regan isn’t due for a drop in the 100 back, she is five years overdue, wouldn’t you say? At some point, the reality could be there is no drop coming.

By the way, appreciate the discussion with someone who has lived this life. Your insights are invaluable.

Gold Medal Mel Stewart
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

I think other commenters will start the list of Bob’s elites. Bob’s known as Phelps’ coach, but that not a fair description of his career. He’s got a long history of producing talent.

WillW
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

How does one produce talent when the talent is there to begin with? Since the London Olympics, coaches have come and gone in Katie Ledecky’s life. The one constant in 12 years of nonpareil success has been Katie Ledecky. So, whether you have one coach, as in the case of Michael Phelps, or multiple coaches, as in the case of Katie Ledecky, it appears that everything begins and ends with the talent a swimmer possesses.

Sub13
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

Yeah totally fair. As I said, I definitely think it could go either way, just like to see the reasoning behind it. For me the women’s backstrokes are the storyline of Paris (I’m sure the vast majority wouldn’t think the same though).

The big point in Regan’s favour is her 57.6 came right after a 200 fly. So it depends how much you think that affected her. She was only 0.01 slower in the 50 back in Fukuoka right after a 200 fly. She has the ability to back up which is great, but that also means it’s less likely she drops major time from doubles compared to singles.

Time will tell!

Oceanian
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
1 month ago

Mel’s Regan-senses are *tingling* again 😉

swimapologist
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

“I have no problem with Mel repeatedly picking Regan to win every time”

NOOOOOBODY BELIEEEEEVES YOU.

Pan Fan
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

It’s better than Rowdy Gaines who commentated during w200 back final in Fukuoka:

“Regan should win this because she has the prettiest backstroke”

If pretty backstroke is the only reason to guarantee the win, Irie would have won many Olympics gold and World Championship god.

WillW
1 month ago

From this moment until the day she retires, every single time Kaylee McKeown swims a personal best in long course backstroke, whether it be the 50, the 100, or the 200, her time will be a world record.

Every.

Single.

Time.

Mr Piano
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

Who cares! Regan is a phenomenal athlete and person in her own right. She’ll do what she’ll do.

WillW
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

Who cares?

Who cares about being an Olympic gold medalist, as opposed to being an Olympic silver medalist, or worse?

My guess would be every Olympic athlete who has ever lived.

Are there those who consider Michael Phelps the greatest swimmer and greatest Olympian because he won 23 gold medals in his career? Or because he won three silver and two bronze medals?

The point is this: Everyone who cheers for Regan Smith better hope that come Paris, Kaylee McKeown is not at her best. If McKeown is . . . well her times speak for themselves, don’t they? Then again, if you don’t care about times, maybe you care about place. In Tokyo and Fukuoka, Smith placed… Read more »

Mr Piano
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

It’s toxic to constantly bring this up in every conversation about Regan though. If she gets silver that’s still a massive accomplishment. Keyboard warriors are obsessed with pretending like it’d be a failure or something if one doesn’t win gold.

I’ll cheer for Regan to win and if she doesn’t I’ll cheer her on anyway.

WillW
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

Regan isn’t dedicating her life for silver. There’s no pretense about it. How hard is that to understand?

Oceanian
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 month ago

Mel’s article is all about – not how has Regan recovered from mono but – she will win in Paris plus Kaylee. So no wonder all these comments are toxic Smith v McKeown takes.

Hardly any mentions in comments about mono… (glandular fever for we Oceanians)

not everybody has to go to Ivy
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

You guys all refuse to recognize that in possibly the most important race — Relay — they went head-to-head again and Smith prevailed.

They are both very good and very evenly matched. Don’t insult either, please.

WillW
Reply to  not everybody has to go to Ivy
1 month ago

You do realize that in the relay you mentioned, Smith was beaten to the wall, don’t you? She didn’t post the fastest time. If you don’t believe me, go back and watch the replay. So, Smith didn’t prevail. Why not take it a step further and say Smith had the better times in the heat and the semifinals, and add give her two more meaningless victories over McKeown?

And if you think a relay gold is superior to an individual gold, I have no words.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

The dumbest part of this comment is it isn’t necessarily a true statement.

Someone we’ve never heard of could break em before she retires, completely not unprecedented.

(Just go back in time and replace “McKeown” with “Ledecky” circa 2016.)

WillW
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

My original post is true in March 2024, is it not? And isn’t it a fact that the only way life is lived is in the present? So, while we wait for someone we’ve never heard of, to appear from a future we know absolutely zero about, and break a record who knows when, I’ve got no problem living with the dumbness of my words. Why? Because of Eleanor Roosevelt, who once wrote: ”No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Steve Nolan
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

You didn’t say, “as of this comment” you said, “From this moment until the day she retires

That’s sort of a very bold, declarative statement that you immediately walked back to basically agree with me as soon as I told you it was dumb.

WillW
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

”As of this comment” and ”from this moment” sound interchangeable. Then again, that’s just me. Sorry. Don’t moonwalk. Now. Or ever. But you keep reading between the lines, even though I don’t beat around the bush.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

Yeah but the thing you didn’t say, that you basically conceded right after, was “barring no one else swims faster than her before then.”

Which, sorta defeats the purpose of your first comment, which was to stir ish up.

WillW
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

Huh? So now you are telling me about things I didn’t say? You really need to stop reading the tea leaves.

not everybody has to go to Ivy
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

Next time up, only.

Say Regan – or anyone else – goes :57.2 100 Back. Then Kaylee swims a PB :57.30. It won’t be a World Record.

Just happily recognize she holds them all for now.

WillW
Reply to  not everybody has to go to Ivy
1 month ago

Let me know when that happens, or if that happens. I’m not hard to find.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

We’re like, by design hard to find here. Everyone commenting on disparate posts for a day or two until it’s buried under 10,000 other chronological posts, forever.

WillW
Reply to  Steve Nolan
1 month ago

From what I’ve seen, you’ve never had a hard time finding me before, since you’ve commented more than once on previous posts in other stories. Only the need for approval makes you invisible.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  WillW
1 month ago

comment image

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

Read More »