Ultra Swim Swimmer of the Month is a recurring SwimSwam feature shedding light on a U.S.-based swimmer who has proven themselves over the past month. As with any item of recognition, Swimmer of the Month is a subjective exercise meant to highlight one athlete whose work holds noteworthy context – perhaps a swimmer who was visibly outperforming other swimmers over the month, or one whose accomplishments slipped through the cracks among other high-profile swims. If your favorite athlete wasn’t selected, feel free to respectfully recognize them in our comment section.
Riptide 17-year-old Regan Smith had an impressive month of June, even beyond her world junior record 100 back.
That 58.45 swim was the highlight, of course. Smith swam at the Counsilman Classic in Indiana, breaking her own WJR twice – she was 58.55 in prelims and 58.45 in finals. A month earlier, she was 58.82 to break the record, and she set it last summer at 58.83.
Smith won’t get to swim that event at Worlds – she’s only qualified in the 200 back – so the Counsilman meet appeared to be her main tune-up meet, but also a chance to swim a wider range of events. And that improving versatility has Smith knocking on the door of multi-stroke Olympic berths next year.
It was the freestyles that really popped this month. Smith hit lifetime-bests in her 100, 200 and 400 frees. The 100 dropped from 56.5 to 55.73; the 200 from 2:00.3 to 1:58.44 and the 400 from 4:14.3 to 4:10.33. She also went 26.5 in the 50 free – a couple tenths off her personal-best set last month.
That 200 is maybe most interesting. Smith had never been under 2:01.9 as of early 2019, but already has cut her best down to 1:58 over the first half of the year. Though the competition is fierce and the national depth great, Smith could be a factor for a 4×200 free relay spot by next summer: her time would have ranked 11th among Americans last season and sits 9th among Americans this year.
Smith is proving to be an outstanding flyer and freestyler along with her well-reported backstroke prowess. Maybe it’s too early to start forecasting multi-event Olympic berths for Smith, who is still just a teenager looking for her first Olympic appearance. But she’s going to be in the mix next summer in at least the 100 and 200 back, with a good shot in the 200 fly (3rd among Americans last year) and perhaps some relay possibilities in the women’s medley, mixed medley and even 4×200 free relays.
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