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:


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
1 year 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

Reply to  The Kraken
1 year 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
1 year ago

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

1 year 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
1 year ago

Best of both worlds!

Reply to  Swimmer
1 year 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.

Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
1 year ago

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

Reply to  DrSwimPhil
1 year ago

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

Reply to  SWIMGUY12345
1 year 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
1 year 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.

Reply to  Honest Observer
1 year 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.

Reply to  Sccoach
1 year 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
1 year 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 »

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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