WATCH: Rising Star Regan Smith on the FINA World Cup Experience

What’s it like to be only 14-years-old and already one of the best backstrokers in the world?  For Regan Smith of Riptide Swim Team in Apple Valley, MN, it’s just a stepping stone.

If you haven’t heard of Regan Smith by now, it’s time to start paying attention.  At only 14-years-old, Smith traveled to Tokyo and Hong Kong to compete in the FINA World Cup alongside the best swimmers in the world. The youngest member of the National Junior Team, Smith’s youth and inexperience on the international stage took a backseat to her tenacity and raw talent in the pool.

Smith swam alongside titans including Katinka Hosszu and Emily Seebohm, racing each of them eight times between the two competitions.  Though Hosszu and Seebohm got the better of Smith this time, she held her own and remained steady with her times.  Already a NAG record-holder in the 13-14 age group after taking down Missy Franklin‘s 100 LCM backstroke record (tied once, broke twice), Smith’s upward trajectory heightens with each major competition.

At the World Cup Smith became the 11th-fastest American female in history in both the 100 (58.13) and 200 (2:04.77) SCM backstroke races, despite not resting whatsoever.  “She’ll rest on the plane!” said her coach, Mike Parratto, the week before the competition in Tokyo.  Well, the results speak for themselves.  At the time of this writing, Smith is ranked 6th in the world in the 200 SCM backstroke and is tied for 16th in the 100 SCM backstroke.  Similar to Missy Franklin in the 2009 & 2011 Duel in the Pool and 2011 FINA World Championships, Smith has gotten a taste of international competition that could aid in sling-shotting her into the spotlight in 2020 when the world turns its attention to Tokyo.

Next month Smith will compete in the Speedo Junior National Championships where she will swim an impressive lineup.  Though she is focused on breaking more NAG records in the 13-14 age group, she will not fully taper until the 2017 Phillips 66 National Championships, where she aspires to earn a spot on the 2017 Junior World Championship Team.

Here, Smith talks about her experience at the World Cup:



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Mark Schwartz

Speaking of Missy. Will we be seeing her anytime soon?


One of the really impressive swimmers in the USA Swimming “up and coming” stable. Have enjoyed watching her since she was 9 or 10. Works hard, stays humble and genuinely appears to love what she’s doing. And she’s very calm under pressure. Adds up to the potential to have a really bright future. And I’m sure she’d enjoy swimming for Kate Lundsten at Junior Worlds next year. Good luck to her.


Juniors will be fun. She has a great shot at NAG records in 100/200 back, 100/200 fly, 100/200 free and 200IM. Depends on her schedule…if she triples it’ll be tough to do it. She missed high point at Jrs in August by something like a point or two so I hope she doesn’t care about swimming 8 events and instead does only 5 or 6. She could break a NAG record in every event. Obviously a tall order but it’s possible. Toughest is probably 200im due to her relatively weaker breaststroke.


Maybe but i doubt it. It sounds like she won’t rest enough to do that. 100 Back & 100 Fly probably. But the others are tough. I showed her SCM time from that World Cup in 200 back (2:04.77) to be a low 1:52. She needs 1:51.07 (Franklin) for a NAG. 200 Fly NAG is 1:56.01 (Cassidy Bayer) and I’ll bet Parratto has her doing 55,000 yards a week. Easy. Either way, cool. She’s fast in a lot of events. Looks like she has 7 Trials cuts at 14? Nice.

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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