Three 13-year-olds qualify for Olympic Trials over the weekend

This past weekend, 3 women qualified for the U.S. Olympic Trials at just 13 years of age. In the backstroke and breaststroke events, these swimmers could bring a strong presence to the future of Team USA.

Regan Smith

The swimmer from Riptide swam her way to Olympic Trials qualification at the AQJT Summer Invitational meet in Minneapolis. She made the cut with a 2:14.69 in the 200 meter backstroke, dominating the 14 & under event. She followed that up with another win and a trials qualifying time in the 100 back at 1:02.54.

Alex Walsh

At the NAC Nike Summer Sizzler, Walsh dropped over 3 seconds from her best time to win the 100 meter back in 1:01.79, way under the Olympic Trials standard of 1:03.39. The Nashville Aquatic Club swimmer dropped over 5 seconds in the 200 back to earn another standard in the 200 back, with a 2:12.49, clearing the cut by over 4 seconds.

Ella Nelson

Another Nashville Aquatic Club swimmer, Nelson dropped her lifetime best to a 2:31.63 in the 200 breaststroke. That put her well under the 2:34.99 she needed to qualify for trials. So far, this is her first Olympic trial cut. She’s not far off in the 100 breast where she swam a 1:11.80.


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Lane Four

Reminds me of Sippy Woodhead way way back to the 1976 Olympic trials as a 12-year-old kid. One year later she is number 2 in the world in the 200 free! Here is hoping these young athletes have as great a future ahead of them as Sippy did!


Look at Dana Vollmer as well. Qualified for the 2000 olympic trials as a twelve year old. Four years later she helped set a world record in the 4×200. And now she’s an individual world record holder!


Sippy Woodhead was amazing. She had absolutely ridiculous range. She was a world record holder in the 50 free for a short time, and had been world-ranked number one leading into the Moscow Olympics in the 100, 200, 400, and 800 free. Her 200m freestyle time of 1:58.23 done as a 15-year old in 1979 was the American record until Nicole Haislett broke it to win gold in the 1992 Olympics. She still holds the 13-14 NAG records in the 200 and 400m frees at 1:58.5 and 4:07.1 from 1978.

We haven’t seen that kind of range out of a swimmer since Shane Gould, and we’re not likely to again.


Thanks for the compliments!

Lane Four

You deserve them, Sippy. You are a legend in American swimming.


Sippy, is that really you?? You were SO AWESOME. I got to see you swim at the Pan American Games in Puerto Rico in 1979 when you broke the world record in the 200 Free! What a thrill. I sat in the stands with the USA parents, and got to see all my heroes come up and greet their folks after their races.

Your versatility and heart were unmatched! Thanks for the memories.


Maybe from Katie L. soon!

bobo gigi

A little surprised by so good times in late June by these youngsters. I knew they were VERY talented but didn’t expect such fast times right now. Was it their tapered meet of the summer? No, I don’t think so. But with those times, the 3 can be now serious top 3 contenders at next US junior nationals. Great job girls. Regan Smith 1.02.54 in the 100 back Her PB was 1.04.20 from last summer. 2.14.35 in the 200 back Her PB was 2.21.60 from last summer. She has also swum the 100 free, the 100 fly, the 200 fly, the 200 free and the 400 free at that meet. So it looks more like a fast in-season meet than… Read more »


How much taper do you think a 13 year old girl needs haha?


13-year olds could sit in the jacuzzi or run through a week of hellish practice and I think the difference would be minor, heh

CT Swim Fan

So that’s where Alex Walsh disappeared to. I was wondering what happened to her as she has stopped showing up in the CPAC results here in CT.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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