Regan Smith vs. Kaylee McKeown at 2023 World Championships

Regan Smith is back and better than ever. At U.S. World Championship Trials she won the 100 back, 200 back, and 200 fly, breaking U.S. open records in both backstroke events. In this video she adds more context to her  successful move to Arizona and training under Bob Bowman, and I think this combo will net big results in Fukuoka.


I am biased. I admit it. I want Regan to win, which should be taken into account. She’s clearly in a good place. And with Coach Bob Bowman, I think we’re witnessing an athlete tuned to their full power.

100 Back? Kaylee McKeown was 57.5 at Aussie Trials. Regan was 57.7.

200 Back? Kaylee broke the world record in March with a 2:03.1, and Kaylee was 2:03.7 at Aussie Trials. Regan was 2:03.8 at US Trials.

Here’s my calculus. Kaylee’s World Records were swum in Australia. When Regan broke her World Records, she was at 2019 World Champs in South Korea. I think Regan returns to her 2019 magic, performing on the big stage. I’m calling a 57.4 100 back for Regan for the gold.  I see a 2:03.3 200 back for Regan for gold.  Kaylee swims eye-to-eye with Regan, but can’t quite get her hand on the wall, touching for sliver.

200 Fly? Regan’s 2:03 at the Tempe meet felt like a perfect swim. I think this is Summer McIntosh’s race, and Summer’s trajectory is dramatic right now. I see Regan pushing Summer to the gold. Regan toughs in 2:04.1, for the sliver.

But who cares what i think? I want to know what you think. Drop your comments below.

Follow Regan Smith on Instagram here.

Follow Gold Medal Mel Stewart on Instagram here.


Opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the interviewed guests do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the hosts, SwimSwam Partners, LLC and/or SwimSwam advertising partners.

This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of, a Swimming News website.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The unoriginal Tim
2 months ago

Funny that the thumb nail for this is Regan doing Fly.

2 months ago

I think Regan takes the 100 back and the 200 fly (barely), but that Kaylee will out touch her in the 200 back on the back half.

Nick the biased Aussie
2 months ago

I’m not biased like Mel, my predictions are:

50 Back
🥇 Katharine
🥈 Kylie
🥉 Kaylee/Regan tie

100 Back
🥇 Kaylee
🥈 Regan
🥉 Ingrid

200 Back
🥇 Kaylee (30.9 Last 50)
🥈 Regan
🥉 Rhyan

200 Fly
🥇 Summer
🥈 Zhang
🥉 Regan

So much talk about Regan changing coaches, not so much about Kaylee, let’s do it now.

Kaylee’s 2022 was a bit rocky after dealing with a shoulder injury post Tokyo and moving to a different squad to train with Michael Bohl, it took a little time for her to settle in and figure out a multi event schedule but she’s shown in 2023 that… Read more »

Reply to  Nick the biased Aussie
2 months ago

Well this seems irrelevant but you seemed underestimated Reagan in 200 fly cause she still a solid second and at least could challenged Summer for the win.

Last edited 2 months ago by Lisa
Reply to  Nick the biased Aussie
2 months ago

If you look at Regan USA national championships swim.. Regan slowed down in the 5-10m …

I’m from India being neutral to each country it’s Regan’s 100/200 back..

Who cares what I think.

What say Mel ?

Reply to  Gladstone
2 months ago

Regan didn’t slow down, Berkoff was speeding up!

Reply to  Snarky
2 months ago

One doesn’t speed up at the end of a 100.

Bo Swims
Reply to  Nick the biased Aussie
2 months ago

Ingrid has been on the upswing lately but Kylie is super consistent. Ingrid is at many of the same meets as my kid & she’s great to watch.

Miss M
2 months ago

I see it being very close between Regan and Kaylee, but I think that the argument that Kaylee swims faster at home has one big hole. She may have been fractionally slower at the Olympics compared to trials, but she won both races. She has an uncanny ability to get her hand on the wall first in pressure situations.

IMHO the time you swim at major championships matters less than the place you finish.

Kaylee by a small margin in both the 100 and the 200, with the WR going down in the 100 in the semis.

Reply to  Miss M
2 months ago

So Regan will break the WR in the semis? Because Kaylee will be saving herself for the 200 IM final.

Miss M
Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

That’s what I’m thinking.

Reply to  Miss M
2 months ago

Yeah the whole “she is slower overseas” thing is overblown. You could make the same argument that Smith is always slower in finals.

Looking at Kaylee’s top times:

2021 100 back
1. 57.45 – WR – Australia
2. 57.47 – Gold – Olympics Tokyo
3. 57.63 – Sydney Open Australia

0.02 slower is negligible, and considering she had a torn labrum is probably faster in the circumstances. I laughed at Coleman insisting on the podcast that this swim is clear evidence of her being slower overseas.

Meanwhile Smith swam slower in each round at the Olympics.

2021 200 back
1. 2:04.28 – Trials – Australia
2. 2:04.31 – Sydney Open – Australia
3. 2:04.68… Read more »

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Yeah the sample size is way too small to make a definitive statement about her always being slower.

Honestly out of the entire Australian team Kaylee would be the last person I’d pick to go slower in Fukuoka. She might lose but it will be because of Reagan going fast not because she underperforms.

Last edited 2 months ago by Laps
2 months ago

I think Kaylee’s achievements are disrespected by many She went to the Worlds in 2019- and Smith blew the WRs away, and left Kaylee seconds behind in her wake.
Kaylee used hard work, mental toughness and skill, and emerged the double backstroke Olympic champion 2 years later, and now holds the WRs.
She is basically unbeaten in 2 years in backstroke. She wins the tight races in LC and SC.

Bo Swims
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
2 months ago

Kaylee in 100/200/200 IM

Hooked on Chlorine
2 months ago

Kaylee’s going to win. The end.

2 months ago

Regan is amazing and I’m hoping for two very close backstroke finals but Kaylee wins both IMO. She is just sooooo consistent with a very strong finish.

2 months ago

Sub-57 and sub-2:03 for both in the 100 and 200 back!

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

Read More »