Regan Smith Takes Down 2nd-Oldest U.S. Open Championship Record in 200 Back

2021 U.S. Open Swimming Championships

Stanford freshman Regan Smith broke the U.S. Open Championship Record in the 200 meter backstroke on Saturday in her penultimate swim of the meet.

She swam 2:07,09, which cracks over a second off the old Meet Record of 2:08.42 that was set by Hayley McGregory in 2008. That record was the second-oldest championship record, after the 1999 vintage record of 2:07.20 in the 200 fly set by Australian legend Susie O’Neill.

Smith is the World Record holder in this event, but missed the U.S. team in the race for last summer’s Olympic Games. At the Olympic Trials in June, she was the fastest swimmer in prelims with a 2:07.81, the fastest swimmer in semifinals with a 2:07.23, and in spite of dropping another half-second in finals to 2:06.79, she finished 3rd to just-miss the team behind Phoebe Bacon and Rhyan White.

Her 2:07.09 is much faster than she was at last year’s US Open (2:11.74 – though under all of the usual qualifiers of COVID-19). From a very young age, it hasn’t been uncommon for Smith to pop fast swims in non-taper meets: for example, at last season’s Pro Swim Series stop in Indianapolis in May, she swam 2:06.90 in this race.

The record she broke was that of Hayley McGregory, one of the best-ever American swimmers to not make an Olympic Team. Born in London, McGregory was raised in Houston, Texas and become an American citizen in 2000. She split her college career between the University of Texas and USC, and eventually turned pro early.

McGregory finished third at the U.S. Olympic Trials in individual events four times, just barely missing out on the team on each occasion. She finished third in both the 100 and 200 backstrokes at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Trials, even after setting a World Record in the 100 back in prelims in 2008.

Splits Comparison:

Regan Smith
New Meet Record
Old Meet Record
50m 30.06 29.8
100m 32.07 (1:02.13) 32.58 (1:02.38)
150m 32.27 33.11
200m 32.69 (1:04.96) 32.93 (1:06.04)
Final Time 2:07.09 1:08.42

Smith previously picked up a win in the 100 back (58.69) this weekend. She was also the fastest swimmer in prelims of the 100 fly (59.22) before scratching the final. She still has the 200 fly to swim on Saturday – an event where she was 3rd in prelims, but also an event where she took an Olympic silver medal in Tokyo.

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1 year ago

Regan Smith is Olympic medalist in two strokes. Are her breststroke and front crawl so weak that she doesn’t consider IM competition?

Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

Her breaststroke is really bad she even said it herself

Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

Tom Shields won NCAAs in both fly and back. And it’s totally possibly that he could have won the 200 free if it weren’t his 2nd/3rd/or one year 4th event in one session. He never once swam the IM. Some people can swim 3 of the 4 strokes really well but it doesn’t mean they can put together an IM.

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Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner 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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