WATCH: Phoebe Bacon Upsets Regan Smith for 100 BK, Now #3 in 17-18 History


In a thrilling 100 back A-final, it was down to the wire between 17-year-old phenoms Regan Smith and Phoebe Bacon. At the finish, it was Bacon who upset the world record-holder by 0.05 seconds to win her first U.S. Open title.

Bacon’s final time of 58.63 now makes her the 3rd-fastest 17-18 performer in history, only behind Smith and Missy Franklin. Likewise, Bacon cracked the top five U.S. performers list and is now 4th all-time behind Smith, Kathleen Baker, and Franklin.

All-Time Women’s 17-18 Performers – LCM 100 BK

  1. Regan Smith, 57.57 – 2019
  2. Missy Franklin, 58.33 – 2012
  3. **Phoebe Bacon, 58.63 – 2019**
  4. Rachel Bootsma, 59.10 – 2012
  5. Katharine Berkoff, 59.29 – 2019

All-Time U.S. Women’s Performers – LCM 100 BK

  1. Regan Smith, 57.57 – 2019
  2. Kathleen Baker, 58.00 – 2018
  3. Missy Franklin, 58.33 – 2012
  4. **Phoebe Bacon, 58.63 – 2019**
  5. Olivia Smoliga, 58.73 – 2019

Bacon’s performance in Atlanta also made her one of the world’s fastest performers in history, ranking 11th in the history of the event.

All-Time Women’s Performers – LCM 100 BK

  1. Regan Smith (USA), 57.57 – 2019
  2. Kathleen Baker (USA), 58.00 – 2018
  3. Kylie Masse (CAN), 58.10 – 2017
  4. Gemma Spofforth (GBR), 58.12 – 2009
  5. Anastasia Fesikova (RUS), 58.18 – 2009
  6. Emily Seebohm (AUS), 58.23 – 2012
  7. Missy Franklin (USA), 58.33 – 2012
  8. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 58.45 – 2016
  9. Taylor Ruck (CAN), 58.55 – 2019
  10. Minna Atherton (AUS), 58.60 – 2019
  11. **Phoebe Bacon (USA), 58.63 – 2019**

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3 years ago

Bacon’s turnover is much slower than Regan’s. Her 200 back should be even better than the 100.

Awsi Dooger
3 years ago

I was shocked how much better Bacon’s underwater was than Regan. It reminded me of MacNeil over Sjostrom in the 100 butterfly last summer.

Dominate that turn and underwater while emerging with all the momentum is what enables these upsets at 100 distance.

Prior to this event I thought Regan would swim 59 and win handily. Her time wasn’t the issue. It was the fellow youngster. These winter meets are fascinating because you never know how much the teenagers can improve in 5 months. I don’t really care what the veterans do.

Reply to  Awsi Dooger
3 years ago

What? Smith beat her soundly off the 50 turn. You’re absolutely wrong.

Reply to  Dan
3 years ago

Yeah, it’s clear that Smoglia had the best start and Smith the best turn.

3 years ago

Good God that 100m Back at Trials is going to be crazy. So much pressure. They should play Enya when the athletes march out….

3 years ago

I’m wondering if swimmers break personal best being in hard training. Or she isn’t and was targeted this meet.

3 years ago

Mixed 4×100 backstroke should be an event 😂

Sun Yangs Hammer
3 years ago

Only two spots at trials..

On the other hand the US would destroy a 4x100m back relay

Knows NOthing
Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
3 years ago

Regan looks unrested…

Sun Yangs Hammer
Reply to  Knows NOthing
3 years ago

And there are four people who can be expected to go at least 58 mid at trials which by my calculations leaves -2 spots remaining

Reply to  Knows NOthing
3 years ago

That’s the benefit of being a second ahead of the field. She didn’t rest or shave. She’ll rest in June. BTW, she also swam a 200 free before the 100 back. Takes a toll on the legs. Congratulations to Phoebe on a GREAT race. To me, she’s the odds on favorite for #2 at trials.

Reply to  Knows NOthing
3 years ago

She is unrested

Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
3 years ago

Aus would be sneaky competitive.

McKeown, Seebohm and Minna are legit.

If Madi Wilson was still at her best they would be right there.

Reply to  Jred
3 years ago

yep – a winning combo there

Reply to  Sun Yangs Hammer
3 years ago

The question is, how do you do exchanges in a backstroke relay?

Reply to  Luigi
3 years ago

every team has to have 2 adjacent lanes and they swim in both alternatingly.
the 2nd, 3rd and 4th swimmers have to look to their right/left respectively to see when their teammate is gonna touch.
easy, eh? 😉

Sun Yangs Hammer
Reply to  Luigi
3 years ago

Relay exchange of the blocks but breakout on your back

Reply to  Luigi
3 years ago

The times I did them at relay meets, the first person started in the water and the other swimmers got a dive from the blocks and then had to emerge and do a half twist by X distance out. If you ever did the ‘corkscrew’ drill, it’s that kind of easy rotation.

3 years ago

That #3 17-18 alltime made me wince a little.

That swim would be a NR in in every country bar 5 (GBR, CAN, AUS, HUN, RUS) yet it’s only third among 17-18 year old American women… Incredible!

Congratulations to Bacon – What a beautiful stroke; One for the purists. Pause the video at 0:21 and screenshot that, because that’s exactly how you want a backstroke start to look. Poetry in motion.

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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