Regan Smith Breaks Speedo Grand Challenge Record in 100 Back (59.23) During Day 3 Prelims

2024 NOVA SPEEDO GRAND CHALLENGE

Regan Smith crushed the meet record in the 100 backstroke prelims to kick off the final day of racing at the 2024 Speedo Grand Challenge in Irvine on Sunday morning.

The 22-year-old Longhorn Aquatics standout claimed the top qualifying spot with a time of 59.23 in the 100 back heats, taking down Kathleen Baker‘s meet standard of 1:00.20 from 2018 by almost a full second. It’s the third meet record of the weekend for the red-hot Smith, who lowered standards in the 200 IM (2:09.05) on Friday and 100 butterfly (56.26) on Saturday while also posting a personal-best 1:57.23 in the 200 free on Saturday.

Smith is the second-fastest 100 backstroker in the world this season at 57.64 from March, behind only world record holder Kaylee McKeown (57.33). She has been as fast as 57.57 back in 2019.

Another meet record fell in prelims courtesy of 27-year-old Olympic champion Simone Manuel, who led the 100 free heats in 54.08. She was a couple seconds off her best time from 2019 (52.04), but still under Jessica Hardy‘s Grand Challenge standard of 54.44 from 2008. Manuel, who owns a season-best mark of 53.25 from last month, will take on Anicka Delgado (56.21), Paige Madden (56.40), and Claire Weinstein (56.52) in tonight’s super final.

Leon Marchand opted for the 100 back instead of the 200 breaststroke, setting up an exciting showdown with Longhorn Aquatics teammate Hubert Kos. Kos qualified 1st in prelims this morning with a 54.10, only about a second off his personal-best 53.08 from last month that ranks 12th in the world this season. Marchand touched 2nd in 55.44, just about a tenth off his personal-best 55.32 from last October. They’ll be chasing Ryan Murphy‘s meet record of 53.29 from 2018.

There are some fun battles shaping up in the 200 breast as the top qualifiers were separated by less than half a second in prelims. On the women’s side, USC graduate Isabelle Odgers (2:30.45) held off rising Fresno State junior Aliz Kalmar (2:30.84). Rising UCSB junior Kyle Brill (2:16.71) touched within a couple tenths of two-time Olympian Chase Kalisz (2:16.54) in the men’s 200 breast.

The 200 fly features Lindsay Looney in pursuit of Elaine Breeden‘s meet record from 2010 (2:08.73). She led prelims in 2:10.88 this morning, but has been faster than the meet standard before at 2:07.25 back in 2022. Jay Litherland paced the men’s 200 fly heats in 2:02.19, four seconds off his personal-best 1:57.65 from 2021. Sandpipers 16-year-old Caleb Kattau reached the wall within a second of Litherland with a personal-best 2:03.13, dropping almost two tenths off his previous-best 2:03.32 from last month.

Drew Kibler is the man to beat in the 100 free tonight after posting a 49.93 in prelims this morning, only a couple tenths ahead of Wen Zhang (50.18). The meet record still stands at 48.64 by the legendary Jason Lezak back in 2009.

Rancho San Dieguito 12-year-old Sammy Walseth highlighted the younger heats this morning with a pair of top finishes in the 50 free (29.17) and 200 IM (2:34.36) along with a runner-up effort in the 50 fly (31.34) behind 12-year-old teammate Chloe Yoon (30.47). Walseth dropped more than half a second in the 50 free off her previous-best 29.85 from last month, more than three seconds in the 200 IM off her previous-best 2:37.93 from last month, and more than half a second off in the 50 fly off her previous-best 31.91 from last month.

On the boys’ side, Irvine Novaquatics 12-year-old Noah Im clocked the fastest 200 IM time in prelims at 2:25.56, slicing almost two seconds off his previous-best 2:27.13 from last August. He also qualified 2nd in the 50 fly (30.28) behind 12-year-old teammate Jonathan Li (30.02).

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joannietheswimmer
24 days ago

and the announcer is unprepared and very lame

Christopher Wong
Reply to  joannietheswimmer
24 days ago

Sometimes the announcer is just a swimmers dad who’s volunteering.

joannietheswimmer
24 days ago

Why is the video tonight so glitchy!??!?!?! Was not like that before.

Doe
24 days ago

What do we think Regan will go tonight? I’m gonna say 58.7

Sub13
Reply to  Doe
24 days ago

Lol it’s obviously going to be much faster. I’m expecting a 58 flat at the slowest, probably much faster

gitech
Reply to  Doe
24 days ago

57,6/57,7

Last edited 24 days ago by gitech
Doe
Reply to  Doe
24 days ago

I’m glad I was wrong

Adrian
25 days ago

Leon also swam the 100m free (50.43), but got DQ for going over 15m underwater from the dive.

Facts
Reply to  Adrian
25 days ago

15m mark is Leon Marchands father

Owlmando
Reply to  Adrian
25 days ago

Noooo

Mr Piano
Reply to  Adrian
25 days ago

Marchand when he has to swim free in long course (jk I love you Leon)

Owlmando
Reply to  Adrian
25 days ago

Was hoping to see 48 point tn :/

Eric Angle
Reply to  Adrian
25 days ago

Any chance he’ll time trial it?

Doe
Reply to  Adrian
24 days ago

According to swimcloud that would be a best time.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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