Regan Smith Lowers U.S. Open Record In 50 Back Heats, #2 American In History


Regan Smith produced the fastest swim ever on American soil in the women’s 50 backstroke on Thursday morning, clocking 27.40 to pace the field during the preliminary heats of the 2022 U.S. World Championship Trials in Greensboro, N.C.

Smith, 20, put up a time of 27.40 to break the U.S. Open Record of 27.43, set by Olivia Smoliga at the 2018 Pro Swim Series event in Mesa, Ariz.

Smith who came into the race with a personal best time of 27.85 from January 2018, is also now the second-fastest American ever, trailing only Smoliga, who set the national record at 27.33 en route to winning the 2019 World Championship title in Gwangju.

Katharine Berkoff, who defeated Smith head-to-head last month in the 100 back at the Women’s NCAA Championships, was a close second to Smith this morning in 27.44, becoming the third-fastest American in history.

All-Time U.S. Performers, Women’s 50 Backstroke (LCM)

  1. Olivia Smoliga (USA), 27.33 – 2019 World Championships
  2. Regan Smith (UN), 27.40 – 2022 U.S. Trials
  3. Katharine Berkoff (NCS), 27.44 – 2022 U.S. Trials
  4. Kathleen Baker (USA), 27.48 – 2017 World Championships
  5. Natalie Coughlin (CAL), 27.51 – 2015 Pro Swim – Santa Clara
  6. Hannah Stevens (UMIZ), 27.63 – 2017 Summer Nationals
  7. Rachel Bootsma (CAL), 27.68 – 2013 Summer Nationals
  8. Ali DeLoof (CW), 27.79 – 2018 Summer Nationals
  9. Hayley McGregory (TXLA), 27.80 – 2008 Texas Senior Circuit
  10. Elise Haan (NCS), 27.90 – 2018 Summer Nationals

Smoliga qualified third for the final in 27.75, while Rhyan White joined them sub-28 in 27.93 for fourth.

Berkoff notably swam the fastest 50 back of all-time in the short course yards pool last month at the NCAA Championships, leading off NC State’s 200 medley relay in 22.76. Virginia freshman Gretchen Walsh was close behind in 22.81, and qualifies for tonight’s final by placing eighth in heats in 28.26.

Only the winner of tonight’s event will earn a berth on the World Championship team. Smith has likely already solidified a spot in Budapest after placing second in the 200 butterfly, but Berkoff and Smoliga have yet to do so, with the 100 back still to come on Friday.

White has also likely secured a spot on the Worlds team after placing second in the 200 back last night, a race where Smith finished third and failed to earn a berth despite being the world record holder and reigning world champion.

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9 months ago

yay regan!

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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