Last weekend 15-year-old rising star Regan Smith, the “Riptide Rocket”, blasted off into the long course season with an impressive showing at Speedo Sectionals in Indianapolis at the famous IUPUI Natatorium. Though Smith did not break any NAG records at this meet, the times she posted speak for themselves.
Smith, who turned 15 in February, broke two major barriers in her specialty events, the 100 and 200 backstrokes. In the 200, Smith swam a 2:09.79 in evening finals, obliterating her previous best time of 2:11.41 from the 2016 U.S. Open Championships for the second time in one day. With that swim, Smith established herself as the 10th-fastest woman in the world this season in the 200 back, and fastest American woman so far this year.
Saturday night Smith broke the one-minute barrier in the 100 back for the first time, clocking a 59.74 to become the fourth-fastest woman in the world in the event this year. Internationally, Smith only trails Emily Seebohm (Australia), Kylie Masse (Canada), and Fu Yuanhui (China).
In addition to her phenomenal backstroke swims, Smith narrowly missed breaking the one-minute barrier in the 100 fly, posting an impressive 1:00.21 to win the race Friday evening. Smith destroyed the 13-14 NAG records in the 100 back, 200 back, 100 fly, and 200 IM at the SCY Speedo Junior Championships (West) in December. Though missing the NAG records in the LCM versions of the same events in Indy, Smith’s 100 backstroke ranks as the 2nd-fastest-ever for 15-16 girls–only Missy Franklin has been faster within the age group, with a 59.18 from August of 2011 when Franklin was 16-years-old. In the 200 back, Smith ranks 7th-fastest-ever for 15-16 girls, where Missy Franklin again holds the NAG record.
The Phillips 66 National Championships and the FINA World Junior Championships will be held at IUPUI this June and August, respectively.