Regan Smith Breaks American Record in the 100 Yard Backstroke in Minneapolis

2021 MN Aquajet March Invite

  • March 12-15, 2021
  • Jean K Freeman Aquatic Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Short Course Yards (25 yards)
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2021 MN AQJT March Invite”

19-year old Regan Smith of Riptide Swim Team in Minnesota has broken the American and U.S. Open Records in the 100 yard backstroke.

Swimming at a local invite hosted by the University of Minnesota, Smith swam 49.16 in the 100 yard back final on Sunday evening. That shaves .02 seconds off Beata Nelson‘s fastest-ever time in the event of 49.18 swum at the 2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships.

Smith’s previous personal best was a 49.66 done at a Sectionals meet in Cary on March 10, 2019. Since that swim, she broke the World Record in the long course 100 backstroke by leading off the American 400 medley relay at the World Championships in 57.57.

American Record Splits Comparison:

Regan Smith Beata Nelson
New American Record
Old American Record
50y Split 23.78 23.76
100y Split 25.38 25.42
Total Time 49.16 49.18

Smith now holds American Records in the 100 and 200 back in long course meters and the 100 and 200 back in short course yards, plus as a member of the American Record holding long course 400 medley relay. Three of those swims, the 100 back, 200 back, and 400 medley relay in long course, are also World Records.

On Sunday, Smith ended her meet with a 1:49.78 in the 200 fly. That makes her the #2 performer in history, just behind Ella Eastin’s all-time fastest swim of 1:49.51.

For Smith, who deferred her freshman season at Stanford last fall to stay home and prepare for the Olympics in Minnesota, this is an emphatic response to questions about her Olympic preparations. With complications of pool time and other challenges facing many swimmers around the country, Smith struggled a little in January’s Pro Swim Series meet. There she won the 100 meter back in 59.75 but was just 3rd in the 200 meter back in 2:12.99 in prelims – almost 10 seconds short of her World Record and her slowest time in the race since 2018. She scratched the final.

While the short course 100 backstroke isn’t a perfect indicator for success in long course, it’s at least a sign that Smith is in some kind of form, given that this was not a major national meet and she still broke the American Record.

Smith also swam the 100 fly in 49.88 and the 200 back in 1:47.81 this weekend. Her previous best time in the 100 fly was 50.45 and her best time, the American Record, in the 200 yard back is 1:47.16.

That 100 fly time is tied as the 22nd-best performance in history and makes her the 7th-best performer in the history of the event. The 200 back is the 5th-best performance in the history of that event.

This meet is part of the opening weekend of the Minnesota Swimming LSC’s ‘virtual championship series’ that features smaller invites around the state as compared to one large LSC championship meet.

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4 months ago

Don’t doubt Regan!

4 months ago

Regan just became the first women ever under 50 seconds in both the 100 back and 100 fly. Finally took until 2002 to achieve this.

Reply to  PFA
4 months ago

She nearly broke 40 seconds barrier !!!

“100 fly was 40.45”

Reply to  Tomek
4 months ago

Caeleb Dressel who?

Rachel Wander
Reply to  PFA
4 months ago

It was close. Both Claire Curzan and Maggie McNeil have 50.0s in the 100 back and 49 100 flys.

Reply to  PFA
4 months ago

Just highlights what a beast Coughlin was more than anything!

Sir Swimsalot
Reply to  Joe
4 months ago

That’s a name I haven’t heard in a long long time. Nostalgia hit

Reply to  Joe
4 months ago

Exactly. And, Coughlin’s times were using the old backstroke starting blocks without the platform

Riptide Fan
4 months ago

Congrats!!! Another awesome swim by Regan and her teammates this weekend!!

4 months ago

Can’t wait to see her in Omaha this June! Big things coming her way:)

Misha Fan
4 months ago

Congratulations to her

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Misha Fan
4 months ago

someone actually witha downvote?

4 months ago

Video starts about 27 minutes in

Reply to  JHS
4 months ago

I think you meant 47 minutes in

4 months ago

Wow. Unlikely she would be rested/shaved for this?

Reply to  PappaSnurf
4 months ago

With those times I’m guessing she definitely has some rest. If not, I’m even more excited to see what she can do this summer!

4 months ago

Playing NO games

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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