SwimSwam Pulse: 61% Say Regan Smith Should Turn Pro & Forgo NCAA Swimming

SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.

Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers to weigh in on Regan Smith‘s pro-vs-NCAA decision:

RESULTS

Question: Should Regan Smith turn pro instead of swimming NCAA?

  • Yes – 61.4%
  • No – 38.6%

61.4% of voters said Regan Smith should turn professional now, giving up her NCAA eligibility after breaking two world records over the summer.

The 17-year-old Smith was the breakout star of Team USA this summer, smashing world records in the 200 and 100 backstrokes at the World Championships. Smith has been the #1-ranked NCAA recruit in her high school class, but her father also recently spoke to the San Jose Mercury News, saying Regan Smith is frustrated that NCAA rules prohibit her from receiving world record bonuses.

The NCAA is still very entrenched in the idea of amateurism, even as more and more critics of that system arise. That’s caused tough calls for many swimmers, especially on the women’s side, where teenage sensations are the norm of the sport. Smith is verbally committed to Stanford for the fall of 2020. Fellow Stanford swimmers Katie Ledecky and Simone Manuel both turned pro before their collegiate eligiblity was used up, following the path of Missy Franklinwho swam just two years at Cal before turning pro. Meanwhile the former holder of Smith’s 100 back world record, Katheen Baker, also turned pro early after breaking a world record as a college junior.

Almost two-thirds of voters said Smith should skip college swimming entirely, while about 38% said she should compete in the NCAA.

 

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks voters which non-Smith backstroker has the best chance of making the 2020 U.S. Olympic team in the 100 back:

Who is more likely to make the 2020 U.S. Olympic team in the 100 back?

View Results

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A3 Performance is an independently-owned, performance swimwear company built on a passion for swimming, athletes, and athletic performance. We encourage swimmers to swim better and faster at all ages and levels, from beginners to Olympians.  Driven by a genuine leader and devoted staff that are passionate about swimming and service, A3 Performance strives to inspire and enrich the sport of swimming with innovative and impactful products that motivate swimmers to be their very best – an A3 Performer.

The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner

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The Kraken
2 years ago

I fully understand the need to go pro before the Olympics (millions of dollars on the line), I just think that it’s a shame that she’d have to miss out on the college team experience

Scribble
Reply to  The Kraken
2 years ago

The NCAA should fix this. Regan Smith should not be penalized for being successful at a young age. Put the money in trust if they think she will gain an advantage with it.

The michael phelps caterpillar
2 years ago

Considering starting my own college sports organization. Let me know if anyone is interested in joining!

Swimmer
2 years ago

Just go to Stanford still, train with the pro team there, and make tons of money while you’re at it

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago

Best of both worlds!

SWIMGUY12345
Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago

The question is could she get into Stanford without swimming? Not saying she can’t, but that is one tough place to get in.

That’s why I feel super frustrated for her and all of the other NCAA athletes who can’t profit off of their own talent while getting an education.

DrSwimPhil
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
2 years ago

Does Stanford make concessions for swimmers? I’m not exactly sure they do.

SwimDad
Reply to  DrSwimPhil
2 years ago

Stanford swimmers apply and get into Stanford based on their own academic merit, just like everyone else.

Test
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
2 years ago

I don’t know how Stanford wouldn’t want to have someone who is literally the best in the history of the world at what she does. That sounds like a Stanford student to me, whether or not she is competing for them.

Honest Observer
Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
2 years ago

She’s already been accepted, so that point is moot. It would be a tremendous embarrassment for Stanford if they were to try to somehow rescind her acceptance on the grounds that she had decided not to swim there. It would be tacit admission that they show favoritism to athletes, and that a lot of athletes wouldn’t have gotten in otherwise, and while everyone knows that’s true, it’s still not the sort of thing that any top university would want to admit to in such a bald-faced fashion.

Sccoach
Reply to  Honest Observer
2 years ago

Is that how it works? The second you get in you are in even if you never join the team? I’m not sure that’s how it works.

Swimmer
Reply to  Sccoach
2 years ago

Not sure it works that way with admissions. Greg is giving up one recruiting position. If she decides to go pro, I’m sure he wants to know soon.

Honest Observer
Reply to  Swimmer
2 years ago

I’m pretty sure that’s how it works as far as admissions. Obviously she’d have to give up the scholarship, but that’s a different matter. Imagine the bad publicity that would result if they said, okay, you’re not going to swim on our team? Then you can’t come here anymore. It would reflect negatively on the whole idea of higher education at a place like Stanford. (Again, I emphasize, I’m not suggesting for one second that athletes don’t get favored treatment and sometimes get in with lesser academic credentials; I’m just saying that turning around and saying “No, we don’t want you anymore” would put Stanford in. an incredibly awkward place, and they, like any top school, take great pains to… Read more »

Newport Beach Lover
2 years ago

What a great talent she is- yes- two world records, but she is not an Olympian yet. Plus anyone can break her record(s) anytime. A swim pro would last about ten years, but college degree from Stanford and the whole college experience are life-changing and irreplaceable. If she still chooses to go to Stanford next year as she has already verbally committed, it is her choice for her life, and not anyone else’s business. It is like the choices we have had in our life. She will improve under Meehan and fast teammates.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Newport Beach Lover
2 years ago

Ugh. She can still get college degree from Stanford while being a pro swimmer. Katie Ledecky is getting a degree from Stanford while being a pro swimmer. So is Simone Manuel

Newport Beach Lover
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

I believe Stanford admission is a bit different. Not sure how it affects admission if not playing collegiate. Both Katie and Simone started school as a collegiate athlete and turned pro later.

Pac Swim Fan
Reply to  Newport Beach Lover
2 years ago

Yeah, duh

Swimmer
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
2 years ago

They swam for Stanford.

Jimbo
Reply to  Newport Beach Lover
2 years ago

Anyone can break her Records any time. Yeah sure tell that to any person right now.

Steve Hulford
Reply to  Newport Beach Lover
2 years ago

I don’t know why people think that you have to compete in NCAA to get a university degree. You can study, and swim with the club team. I say go Pro! Swimming a yards meet at the NCAA is not worth millions of dollars.

Pac Swim Fan
Reply to  Steve Hulford
2 years ago

Study at U of M and swim at Riptide?

coach
Reply to  Pac Swim Fan
2 years ago

If she goes Pro, she should remain with Mike. What they are doing is clearly working, and Mike is one of the best coaches in the business.

Well
Reply to  Newport Beach Lover
2 years ago

“He likes his heroes with Olympic medals!!!”

Ohioswimmer
2 years ago

Well, we chewed up Missy Franklin and spat her out with our opinions. Time to do that with Regan. It’s really none of our business. She should do whatever she wants to. She’s a really fast 17 year old girl. She’s got a great shot at gold medals at the Olympics, and that is certainly newsworthy. Her personal life choices are not. Holding a poll on what she should do isn’t going to cause her any undue pressure or stress at all………I am sure hearing all our opinions will be extremely helpful.

Virtus
Reply to  Ohioswimmer
2 years ago

Really didn’t think about it like that tbh

Pac Swim Fan
Reply to  Virtus
2 years ago

And why not? Just because she back-strokes like a super hero doesn’t mean she isn’t human with all the attendant emotions.

UCswim
Reply to  Ohioswimmer
2 years ago

Upvote this 1,000. She is a teenager and doesn’t need commentators on this.

Irish Ringer
Reply to  UCswim
2 years ago

And yet you can only up vote 1 time. This isn’t like all those dead democrat votes that seem to find their way to the ballot box 🙂

Well
Reply to  Ohioswimmer
2 years ago

And Missy is a good example of nothing is guaranteed…

Irish Ringer
Reply to  Ohioswimmer
2 years ago

And yet here you are spouting an opinion.

Billy
2 years ago

I think she should do whatever she wants to. It’s her life, not anyone else’s.

ri2
2 years ago

orrrrrr go pro – and go to Toronto to swim with Masse
best of both worlds

Superfan
Reply to  ri2
2 years ago

I don’t think Masse trains with the elite group if that is whatb you meant

Steph Smith
Reply to  Superfan
2 years ago

Superfan is correct. She doesn’t train at the High Performance Centre in Scarborough, but instead with the UofT Varsity Blues Team

Julie
Reply to  ri2
2 years ago

Why does she have to get an education in the US? She could turn pro and go anywhere in the world for her education. I’m sure several universities in other countries would love to have her on their swim teams and become a student.

Well
Reply to  ri2
2 years ago

She’s already faster than Massey?

Swammerjammer
2 years ago

It is also important to analyze the risk of injuries. Some top NCAA swim coaches have a track record of elite swimmers getting injured in their programs. If swimming in college before turning pro, use caution and choose a safe training program, including dry land. Look at who the assistant coaches are. The best coaches prevent unnecessary injuries. You don’t want your college years to be about coming back from broken bones and ligament tears instead of reaching your full potential. Swimmers can always go pro then after the Olympics, go to college for career reasons instead of swim reasons. Then you won’t have to make a living on Instagram. Also depends on if you want your name in the… Read more »

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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