2021 TYR Pro Swim Series: Regan Smith Checks in With Victory in 200 Fly; Aiden Hayes Surprises Among Men

regan smith
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2021 TYR Pro Swim Series: Regan Smith Checks in With Victory in 200 Fly; Aiden Hayes Surprises Among Men

Any analysis of the schedule Regan Smith will adopt for the United States Olympic Trials is consistent as far as the 18-year-old’s top three events are concerned. As the world-record holder in each discipline, Smith will be the favorite in the 100 backstroke and 200 backstroke. Meanwhile, her presence in the 200 butterfly is anticipated, and it was that event which opened the third night of the TYR Pro Swim Series stop in San Antonio.

Taking control of the race just after the first lap, Smith tired toward the finish but prevailed in 2:10.10, a solid time given the heavy training Smith has been logging under the watch of coach Mike Parratto. Smith was followed to the wall by Leah Gingrich (2:10.64) and Katie Crom (2:10.85), both of whom were closing on Smith down the stretch.

Smith used her powerful underwaters to take control of the race, something that is a main focus for her in workouts.

“Mike loves fin sets so we will throw on the fins every day,” Smith said in a virtual press conference at the TYR Pro Swim Series. “We will do some 25s underwaters. He calls them ‘shooters’ where we do 25s underwater sprints and then we will do 30 yards sprints of swimming. Every day we will get underwaters in which is so important. It’s the fastest part of the race so we really try to put a lot of emphasis on that in practice.”

Smith owns a personal best of 2:06.39 in the 200 fly, a time that was posted last March, just before the COVID-19 pandemic put life in the United States into shutdown mode. For Smith to make the 200 fly part of her Olympic program, it will require successfully navigating a field that includes Hali Flickinger and Katie Drabot, the American representatives in the event at the 2019 World Championships.

The 30-year-old Gingrich, an All-American during her University of Texas days, acquitted herself superbly en route to her runnerup showing, and has emerged as a feel-good story over the past few years. A finalist at the 2008 Olympic Trials, Gingrich retired from the sport, but opted to return to the pool and has rekindled some of her past success.

On the men’s side, victory in the 200 fly was a surprise as Aiden Hayes claimed top honors in 1:58.33 while racing at the Richmond stop. The 17-year-old was the top qualifier after prelims from his site, but he figured to finish behind the bigger names who were competing at the San Antonio location. Ultimately, though, Hayes got the job done.

In San Antonio, Carson Foster waited until the last moment to take control of the 200 fly. Trailing Miles Smachlo until the final few meters, the University of Texas Freshman pulled ahead just before the wall and won the race in 1:58.60, with Smachlo placing next in 1:59.10. Zach Harting was also surging at the finish and placed third (fourth overall) in 1:59.16.

For Foster, the 200 fly is one of several options for the Olympic Trials, after his certain events of the 200 individual medley, 400 individual medley and 200 freestyle. With Michael Phelps retired after representing the United States at the past five Olympic Games, the 200 fly is wide open and could be a nice fit for Foster, who is viewed as a future star for Team USA.

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