Race Video: Watch White And Bacon Take Out WR Holder Smith In Women’s 200 Back


The 2021 US Olympic Trials have been anything but boring and the day 7 finals session was no exception.

Upsets upon upsets have gone down over the course of the meet and none were as unexpected as the result of the women’s 200 backstroke final in which Rhyan White and Phoebe Bacon managed to unseat reigning world champion and world record holder.

After qualifying for Tokyo in the 100 backstroke and 200 butterfly, Regan Smith couldn’t quite get it done in the 200 backstroke despite her status as the fastest-ever swimmer in history. Smith swam to gold in the event at 2019 Worlds with a 2:03.69 and was more than 3 seconds slower here with a 2:06.79 for third place.

Taking advantage of the situation, Rhyan White swam to a 2:05.73 victory in the event to add a second event in Tokyo along with the 100 backstroke. Phoebe Bacon meanwhile came in at a 2:06.46 for second place, qualifying for her first Olympic squad.

Women’s 200 Backstroke Final Race Video

Race recap originally reported by James Sutherland


  • World Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 2:03.35 (2019)
  • American Record: Regan Smith – 2:03.35 (2019)
  • US Open Record: Missy Franklin (USA) – 2:05.68 (2013)
  • World Junior Record: Regan Smith (USA) – 2:03.35 (2019)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Maya DiRado (USA) – 2:05.99
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Maya DiRado – 2:06.90
  • Wave I Cut: 2:14.69
  • Wave II Cut: 2:12.94
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 2:10.39
  1. Rhyan White (BAMA), 2:05.73
  2. Phoebe Bacon (WA), 2:06.46
  3. Regan Smith (RIPT), 2:06.79

In doubtedly the biggest upset of the meet, Rhyan White is the Olympic Trials winner in the women’s 200 backstroke and reigning world champion and world record holder Regan Smith won’t swim the event in Tokyo.

The top-four swimmers were tight through the first 150—Smith led the way, with White, Phoebe Bacon and Isabelle Stadden trailing close behind.

After Smith flipped first by two tenths at the final turn, White took off down the final 50. White pulled into the lead, and then all of a sudden, Bacon began moving past Smith down the stretch.

White, who trains at Alabama, ended up winning by a decisive 73 one-hundredths of a second, clocking 2:05.73 to demolish her previous best of 2:07.07 and become the third-fastest American woman of all-time. The 21-year-old also moves into third in the world this season.

White was by far the fastest closer in 31.96, and Bacon ended up being the only other swimmer in the field sub-33, as the rising Wisconsin sophomore came back in 32.67—more than half a second faster than Smith—to snag second in 2:06.46 and qualify for the Olympic team.

Bacon’s previous best time was a 2:06.84, set at Pro Swim Series meet in Indianapolis in May, where she notably out-touched Smith by a few one-hundredths.

Smith tied up coming home and finishes a shocking third in 2:06.79, more than three seconds off her world record set in 2019 (2:03.35). The 19-year-old will still have the 100 back and 200 fly to race in Tokyo.

Cal’s Stadden fell off the pace on the last 50 as well, ultimately taking fourth in 2:07.86, having set a PB of 2:07.28 last month.

Kathleen Baker misses out on her final opportunity to make the Olympic team, taking fifth in 2:08.78.

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1 year ago

Anyone else see Ragan mouth at the end of the race “F*%+ Me”

Reply to  Language
1 year ago

I see her say something but I think Regan has better manners than that. She knows the cameras will be zoomed in on her face.

Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Ryan White has improved so much since she’s at Alabama.
She’s on fire this year. And it’s a good year to be on fire.
Like for Huske, Curzan, Jacoby or Grimes the postponement of the olympic games to 2021 has benefit her a lot.

Bobo Gigi
1 year ago

Race video for people outside of USA

Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

Well, if you’re going to bomb, it might as well be in trials for the asterisk Olympics.

1 year ago

Regan showed that she’s human and she still had an amazing week. She has nothing to be ashamed of. I hope she can relax a little bit now and go to Tokyo with a smile and enjoy the experience.

1 year ago

When Reagan set her world record she had a very limited program, she was rested and she rode on a wave of emotions representing USA for the first time. She is still one of the best backstrokers in the world but it will not get any easier.

1 year ago

Following 2019 WC:
Smith: hmmm, records in 100 and 200 back. Think i’ll try another stroke.
Voice in Smith head: dont do it Reagan.
Following 2021 OT:
Smith: that didnt work.
Voice in Smith head: dumba**

Reply to  Emerson
1 year ago

She didn’t just “try” another stroke. She’s always been amazing at fly as well, breaking multiple age group records over the years.

Voice in Emerson’s head: dumba**

Reply to  Pool
1 year ago

Agree in age group she was outstanding in fly; however, as a senior she has not done much nationally and virtually nothing internationally. I think had she focused on back only, she would have been a lock for gold in 2back with an excellent chance for gold in 1back. Now I think she has a good chance for gold in the 1back and only a fair chance for a medal in the 2fly.

1 year ago

Why you don’t swim 2 Fly

Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

yOu CaN’t CoMmEnT CuZ YoU’rE nOt An OlYmPiAn