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Regan Smith Sets New U.S. Open Record In Win At Swimming Trials

by Alex Abrams

Regan Smith reacts after competing in the women's 100 meter backstroke final at the Phillips 66 International Team Trials in Greensboro, North Carolina. 


Regan Smith cracked a smile and gave a thumbs up after seeing her time flash across the scoreboard inside the Greensboro Aquatic Center.

It was a quick celebration following such a fast race.

Smith touched the wall in 57.76 seconds to win a close race in the women’s 100-meter backstroke on Friday night, finishing in on the fourth day of the Phillips 66 International Team Trials. In the process she broke her own U.S. Open record, marking the fastest time record on U.S. soil. She set the previous record with a time of 57.92 seconds in 2021.

On Friday, Smith also posted the fastest time in the world this year in the women’s 100 backstroke. She needed every bit of it to hold off several swimmers down the stretch for the win.

“It felt really great until like the 80-meter mark and then I died really bad,” Smith said. “But I’m really happy with that time. It’s a great time for me. I’m really happy to end on a good note.”

Smith got off to a fast start, but she couldn’t create much separation from the rest of the field. Fellow Tokyo Olympians Claire Curzan and Rhyan White followed closely behind Smith as they approached the wall.

Curzan finished second at 58.39 seconds, and White took third at 58.59 seconds.

With her victory in the 100 backstroke, Smith also secured her spot in the 200-meter butterfly at this summer’s 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

“If I’ve learned anything this week, it’s that USA women’s backstroke is not something to be messed with and I’m just really proud of everyone,” Smith said. “There are so many girls who are deserving of swimming the 100 and 200 back at worlds that won’t get to."

“There’s just so many talented girls in this field, so it’s just a shame we can’t bring more people.”

Several swimmers repeated as winners on the second-to-last day of the international team trials. The competition ends Saturday night.

Katie Ledecky looks on following her victory in the women's 200 meter freestyle finals at the Phillips 66 International Team Trials in Greensboro, North Carolina. 

Ten-time Olympic medalist Katie Ledecky opened Friday’s finals by cruising to a victory in the women’s 400-meter freestyle race, finishing in 3:59.52. 

It was her third title in Greensboro after capturing the women’s 800-meter freestyle on Tuesday and then following it up a day later with a win in the women’s 200-meter freestyle race.

“I’m excited about it,” Ledecky said. “I swam (the 400 free) a little differently and felt really good about how I felt this morning and tonight, so I think we can take a lot away from those two swims and try to be a little better in Budapest.”

Two-time Olympic champ Lilly King, meanwhile, won the women’s 100-meter breaststroke race in 1:05.67 to complete her sweep of the breaststroke events at the international team trials.

Hunter Armstrong, fresh off breaking the world record in the men’s 50-meter backstroke on Thursday, set a personal best in the 100-meter backstroke at 52.20 seconds to edge Ryan Murphy for the win. Murphy took second at 52.46 seconds.

“I’m extremely confident moving into Budapest” Armstrong said. “That was definitely the scariest swim I’ve had this meet.”

Nominated To The World Championships as of Wednesday

Hunter Armstrong – 50/100m backstroke; 4x100m freestyle relay
Brooks Curry – 100m freestyle
Caeleb Dressel – 50/100m butterfly; 100m freestyle
Nic Fink – 100/200m breaststroke
Bobby Finke – 1500m freestyle
Carson Foster – 4x200m freestyle relay; 400m individual medley
Ryan Held – 4x100m freestyle relay
Trenton Julian – 200m butterfly; 4x200m freestyle relay
Drew Kibler – 200m freestyle; 4x100m freestyle relay
Ryan Murphy – 200m backstroke
Kieran Smith – 200/400m freestyle
Charlie Swanson – 200m breaststroke
Luca Urlando – 200m butterfly

Phoebe Bacon – 200m backstroke
Erika Brown – 4x100m freestyle relay
Claire Curzan – 50/100m butterfly; 100m freestyle; 100m backstroke
Hali Flickinger – 200m butterfly; 4x200m freestyle relay
Katie Grimes – 400m individual medley
Natalie Hinds – 4x100m freestyle relay
Torri Huske – 100m freestyle; 100m butterfly
Lilly King – 50/100/200m breaststroke
Katie Ledecky – 200/400/800m freestyle
Leah Smith – 400/800m freestyle; 4x200m freestyle relay
Regan Smith – 100m backstroke; 200m butterfly
Claire Weinstein – 200m freestyle

Alex Abrams has written about Olympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.
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