Un-Rested, Regan Smith Drops 4:41 500 Free at Club Meet

14-year-old phenom Regan Smith just posted the 6th-fastest-time-ever in the girl’s 13-14 age group in the 500 free, and she didn’t even taper for it.

Smith, swimming at the Foxjet Invite at the University of Minnesota, posted a blistering 4:41.93 in the 500 freestyle tonight to easily win the race and establish the 6th-fastest time ever in the in the girl’s 13-14 age group. It should come as no surprise that the NAG record holder in the event is Katie Ledecky with a 4:35.14 established in 2011.

Speaking to SwimSwam this evening, Regan’s father, Paul (a USA Swimming coach, though not Regan’s coach) said that it was a huge swim and that the family was really happy with the results.

The 500 was one of several events that Smith passed on swimming at the Speedo Junior Championships (West) in December.  Concerning the swim this evening Regan’s father, Paul Smith, said “Regan dropped a 4:41 in the 500 tonight.  No shave or taper.  Huge swim.  Really happy.  Wish she could have swam it tapered.”  Regan herself said that she “really felt it on the back half.”

However Smith felt on the back half of the race, her splits remained solid.  While it’s impossible to know how fast Smith might have gone had she swam the 500 at Junior’s, it is reasonable to conclude that she could become a national-contender in the middle-distance freestyles in the future.  Ledecky will likely remain atop the heap for years to come, though even she will someday rely on great up-and-comers such as Smith to keep pushing her to continued greatness.

Smith’s splits this evening are as follows:

Increment All By 50 By 100
50 24.67 24.67
100 52.21 27.54 52.21
150 1:20.20 27.99
200 1:48.35 28.15 56.14
250 2:16.28 28.47
300 2:45.59 28.77 57.24
350 3:14.76 29.17
400 3:43.99 29.23 58.40
450 4:13.08 29.09
500 4:41.93 28.58 57.94



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Sick time. Dad sounds like a handful

bobo gigi

Sorry for my English language ignorance but what do you mean exactly by “handful”? Is it pejorative in your mind?

Happy Camper



Hi Bobo, yes, if someone is “a handful” it’s not necessarily damning, but it’s not meant to flatter (unless, SCCoach, you were thinking of a handful…of candy!).

Quote might be better had it ended after “Really happy.”

In any case, an epic January swim showcasing versatility from the young star with a very exciting future–Regan should be very proud of her accomplishment! No doubt she and her teammates are working hard.

bobo gigi



Sounds to me like he was asked directly by Reid Carlson about the swim and told the truth. I’d have been pleased too. I doubt it was widely expected. After seeing her at Juniors, it’s a fair thought to wonder if she could have gone faster rested. But, I guess it’s easier to just take a pot shot at the guy, huh?


Wait a minute. According to coverage on this site, she broke two NAG records (100 fly & back) by wide margins at Juniors 5 or 6 weeks ago and missed the 200 back by a hair. Her 100 back 13-14 NAG is faster than the 15-16 NAG as well. So, now she apparently surprises with a REALLY fast 500 free after what was, under Mike Parratto (old school), very likely a HEAVY volume holiday break period and it’s bad for him to say he’d like to have seen a tapered shot at Ledecky’s REALLY impressive NAG record? She ages up fairly soon. That’s “a handful”? What’s happened to being able to be honest? I’d like to see that too! I’m… Read more »


No parents should not do any commentary on their kids even if it’s the truth. Stick to standard sports cliche such as: “She is amazing” or “I am so proud of her” or the standard “I wish someone could help me with my high grocery bills”


He’s also a USA Swimming coach. He’s been part of her training and development for years. He’s not some parent popping off. Carlson asked him for his impressions of the swim. The guy doesn’t walk around bragging about his kid. Quite the opposite. Relax please.


the fact that Braden came on here to clarify proves my point. In the future the general media could care less how it plays out and they may even intentionally misquote to make the dad look bad. Look what they did to Gabby Douglas in Rio. Read the comments on this website on Missy Franklin come on people this girl is 14. People don’t care if you are a good parent or actually know a lot about swimming. I could easily take that quote and title my article. “Reagan Smith’s dad second guesses coaches decision to not rest his child for last meet as a 14 year old”


Regan or her coach should be the ones talking to the media if they want to, the dad making “a statement” to swimswam raises red flags. The dad could be cool but is likely a handful. Coaches can spot these red flags pretty easily.

Unless he is Debbie Phelps or something, the media isn’t tracking him down for a statement, he is the one tracking swimswam down to make a statement.

Hey Sccoach – actually, in this case, we did track him down. Reid Carlson, the author of this piece has a long relationship with Regan’s dad, and as the coach was busy coaching, we asked Paul whether or not Regan was rested, shaved, or taper so that we could give good context to the swim. Also – her dad is a swim coach, although he doesn’t coach her directly.


Looks like I am wrong. I apologize to anyone I offended. I spoke up because personally I don’t like seeing young kids being rushed into the spotlight, but it’s bound to happen since this girl is so fast.


Thanks for clarifying the FACTS, Braden. I appreciate it.

bobo gigi

Paul, if you are Regan’s father, best wishes to your daughter who has a bright future. And congratulations to her coach who does a great job.


Yes, Bobo. Thank you very much.


Like most champions, Regan has a solid support system including a great family. Paul certainly could brag about Regan but never does! All he did, when asked, was stating the facts. Actually I was hoping she could rest a little as this is her last meet before turning 15. Her times would even be more impressive!

bobo gigi

That’s an astonishing performance from Regan Smith and totally unexpected. At least for me. I knew her freestyle and her endurance overall had improved in the last year but 4.41 in January with no taper…. 😯
She’s amazing on backstroke, great on fly and now she adds freestyle to her greatness.
It’s very fun to see her develop for 5 years. We don’t know where her limits are.
Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!


Not only was she not tapered she had bricks tied to her feet


Cos a 14 year old needs a taper to do a pb, right?


If you believe an elite, 14/15 year old female isn’t impacted positively by relative rest and taper, I have some land I’d like to sell you. Kids at her level don’t cut time easily. If you’re talking about a 10 year old, yes. But you’re wrong. Take a look at any mid season meet on meet mobile and see how many of these 14 year old kids cut. Then look at the TOP 14 year old kids and check that number again. Neither is good. The latter is LOW.


In one of her best events, like her recent 100 back and fly at juniors, then yes she’s positively impacted by a taper but for a secondary event like the 500 a pb isn’t surprising

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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