Regan Smith Downs WJR, Missy Franklin’s 15-16 NAG Record in 100 Back


After a couple of huge swims at the 2017 World Championships, Regan Smith has not cooled down here in Indianapolis. Swimming her way to gold in the 100 backstroke tonight and defeating Canadian star Taylor Ruck, Smith broke the 15-16 NAG record in this race, held previously by 200 back world record holder Missy Franklin. She also broke the World Junior record, held previously by Ruck with her time from the semifinals.

Smith posted a 59.11 in the 100 back final to break Ruck’s day-old WJR and break Franklin’s 15-16 NAG of 59.18 from 2011. Tonight, Smith split 28.70/30.41 to beat Ruck’s 59.28 record, while Ruck herself went 59.23 for silver. In total, five women sailed under the 1:00 mark in that final.

Heading into the mixed 4×100 medley relay holding the WJR and a new NAG record, Smith went faster than her minutes-old NAG with a time of 58.95 off of a 28.64/30.31 splitting. Mixed relay lead-offs do not count for World junior records, so her time of 59.11 from the individual race will still stand as that mark. SwimSwam did get confirmation that her 58.95 will count for the NAG record.

Smith is now the first 15-16 in American history to break 59 seconds, and only three other 15-16 women (Franklin, Rachel Bootsma, Elizabeth Pelton) have ever broken 1:00. Smith only turned 15 this Februrary, meaning she has about a year and a half left in the age group to keep making history.

Here’s a quick summary of what went down across prelims, semis, and finals of the 100 back and the mixed relay tonight.

  • PRELIMS: Smith goes 59.52 to break Minna Atherton‘s meet record of 59.58.
  • SEMIS: Ruck goes 59.28 to break Smith’s hours-old meet record from prelims and lower Atherton’s World Junior record of 59.34.
  • FINALS: Smith goes 59.11 to break both the meet record and WJR, which both stood at 59.28 from Ruck’s semifinal performance. Smith also breaks Franklin’s 15-16 NAG record. Ruck lowered her own PR to a 59.23 for silver.
  • MIXED RELAY FINALS: Smith goes 58.95, which will not count as a new WJR, but does count as the new NAG record.

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5 years ago

The Riptide Rocket! Terrific racing in this event. Just scratching surface.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  SwimSam
5 years ago

The way she is progressing, barring injury, etc., IMHO she has a chance at the WR someday – maybe even soon.

5 years ago

Well, if that doesn’t reignite the fire in Missy Franklin, I dont know what will

5 years ago

Amazing swim Regan!

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Leto
5 years ago

Somebody actually down voted this?

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
5 years ago

If you go to the live thread of the session you’ll see people basically brush this (and her 58 off), and give more attention to the other swimmers in the race.

samuel huntington
5 years ago

oh geez the three other girls who also broke a minute all went to Cal and their careers suffered. Regan – be smart and don’t go to Cal

Hint of Lime
Reply to  samuel huntington
5 years ago

Kathleen Baker doesn’t seem to be suffering at Cal!

stanford fan
Reply to  samuel huntington
5 years ago

rachel bootsma went to the olympics, won the 100 back at ncaas multiple times.

Foreign Embassy
Reply to  samuel huntington
5 years ago

Cal women have won more backstroke events at NCAAs since 2001 than any other school combined. Remember: coughlin, cope, tran, bootsma, pelton, franklin and baker are a pretty elite group to be a part of. Not to mention several others who finaled. It would be easy to say Cal has a backstroke legacy don’t you think? She’s only 15 which is exciting for American swimming but even more exciting for collegiate swimming, if she decides to…

5 years ago

Also being overshadowed by smith a bit is 15 year old canadian jade hannah going 59.6. Very impressive as well, these canadian junior women have a lot of depth. It’ll be interesting to see how many make the step to senior international level like oleksiak has.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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