SwimSwam Pulse: 71% Believe Regan Smith Made The Right Move By Turning Pro

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 if Regan Smith made the right move in opting out of the NCAA and turning professional:

Question: Is turning pro and joining Bob Bowman at Arizona State a good move for Regan Smith?


  • Yes – 71.1%
  • No – 28.9%

The news sent shockwaves through the swimming community. Regan Smith, after only one season swimming at Stanford University, opted to forgo her final three years of NCAA eligibility and turn professional, heading to Tempe, Arizona to join coaching great Bob Bowman.

Smith committed to Stanford back in the summer of 2019, and after deferring her freshman season to prepare for the postponed Olympic Games, didn’t suit up for the Cardinal until the fall of 2021.

After a very successful freshman campaign that included winning the national title in the 200 backstroke, Smith’s highly-anticipated NCAA career has come to an abrupt halt.

The 20-year-old did show progress in the long course pool since heading to The Farm, including winning the 2022 world title in the women’s 100 back, but ultimately felt she needed more of an individualized focus to take full advantage of her competitive window.

“After spending a substantial part of the last two years on my mental game, it’s time to focus on increasing my training intensity,” Smith said when announcing her decision. “I’m entirely confident that Bob’s leadership and training will have me exactly where I want to be for Paris 2024.

“I believe that, in the long run, this is the best way for me to continue to develop as an athlete.”

Smith’s decision led to plenty of debate on whether or not it was the right move, especially with history telling us female swimmers going pro early doesn’t always work out.

But more than 71 percent of readers believe the change will be a good one for Smith, as she’ll be joining Bowman, one of the greatest coaches in swimming history, and an ever-growing pro group at Arizona State that already includes one of Smith’s primary domestic competitors, Hali Flickinger.

28.9 percent believe it wasn’t the right move, and that perhaps she should’ve stayed the course in the NCAA after a successful last 12 months.

Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Pollwhich asks: After Popovici’s 100 free world record swim in the 100 free, which super-suited mark will be the next to fall?

With David Popovici taking out the men's 100 free mark, which individual world record from 2009 will be the next to fall?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...



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.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

I don’t hate Stanford but Greg Meehan has been living off his laurels for far too long.

1 year ago

It may be best for Regan’s career, but I doubt the Stanford coaching staff would agree. I gathered from the interview that her departure was entirely unexpected. Correct me if I’m wrong.

Masters Swammer
1 year ago

She’s an adult and an incredibly accomplished athlete. I have every confidence that she’s making the right decision for herself.

Who am I to say otherwise?

1 year ago

Guess we all kinda knew but never appreciated how insane Piersol’s 200 Back WR was, went so under the radar in most discussions here. It’s been sitting comfortably in the past decade after prime Irie and Lochte and it honestly seems further than W200 Fly IMO

Reply to  Pillow
1 year ago

Yeah with Rylov gone for the foreseeable future and Murphy likely being past his prime in this event, there doesn’t seem to be anyone in the world that could even come close to that time.
But if we’ve learned one thing in the past few years it’s that all it will take is for a talent like Popivici or Milak to show up in the backstroke and suddenly this record could suddenly be smashed.

Reply to  Pillow
1 year ago

I honestly rate Lochte’s 1:52.7 more highly than that WR.

Piersol’s best time without a rubber suit was 1:54.4, it’s almost as big of a spread as Biedermann’s suited vs. unsuited 200 free and that one gets clowned constantly.

1:54.4 is still a great time today obviously and Piersol still has a strong goat argument for Backstroke but I feel that WR should be Lochte’s.

Mr Piano
Reply to  Riccardo
1 year ago

He was just using leggings though, so probably helped him about 1-1.5 seconds instead of 2.8 like Biedermann’s. Agree that Lochte is the true wr holder.

Last edited 1 year ago by Mr Piano
Reply to  Mr Piano
1 year ago

Those leggings helped a lot.

Reply to  Xman
1 year ago

At those same Worlds, Aaron Peirsol went 25.30 in the 50 back, and 53.22 in the 100, so clearly these leggings greatly enhanced his leg position/endurance in the 200 back, as he didn’t display much in the way of speed or power in the shorter events.

Reply to  Riccardo
1 year ago

If you don’t think Peirsol could’ve held his own against Lochte going 1:52.7 in a jammer, you’re probably not giving him enough credit. Dude is the backstroke GOAT.

He also talks about the super suits here:

Reply to  Swaymmer
1 year ago

He went 1:54 for 4 straight years and then magically goes 1:51.9 in 2009.

What changed?

Reply to  Pillow
1 year ago

while i agree that 200bk wr is very fast (as we could say all wrs are…) it doesn’t really seem equivalent to w200 fly. men get within 2 seconds of the 200bk wr relatively regularly compared to w200 fly. pretty much every wc or olympic final one or two guys go 1:53. no woman has ever been within 2 seconds of the w200 fly (yufei came closest at 2.05s)

Mr Piano
1 year ago

Ranked choice voting pls

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 …

Read More »