After Butterfly Show, Regan Smith Ranks In Elite Territory For Primary 200-Meter Events


After Butterfly Show, Regan Smith Ranks In Elite Territory For Primary 200-Meter Events

The moment the scoreboard at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center flashed 2:03.87, Regan Smith joined elite company. That time is what Smith produced in the 200-meter butterfly during Sunday night’s Sun Devil Open, the effort good for an American record and the No. 4 performance in history.

Through a wider lens, Smith’s weekend outing is even more impressive. Thanks to her former world record in the 200 backstroke, a 2:03.35 from the 2019 World Championships, Smith is now the only female to own sub-2:04 markers in the 200 butterfly and 200 backstroke. More, no one has ever gone sub-2:05 in both events.

While Smith broke onto the international scene in the backstroke events, she has developed into a superb all-around performer. Individual Olympic medals in the 100 backstroke and 200 fly serve as proof, as does her recent 2:08.48 swim in the 200 individual medley. Just a few weeks away from the United States International Team Trials, Smith has several options for the meet in Indianapolis.

Since deciding to forego her remaining three years of collegiate eligibility at Stanford University, Smith has benefited from her work as a professional under the guidance of coach Bob Bowman. En route to her 2:03.87 performance in the 200 fly, Smith attacked the race, splitting under a minute at the midway point. On the way home, Smith’s training allowed her to finish strong, with back-to-back 32-second splits.

To place enhanced perspective on what Smith has done in the 200-meter distances of backstroke and butterfly, consider this fact. Hungarian Katinka Hosszu has come closest to clocking sub-2:05 in both events. Hosszu owns a personal best of 2:04.27 in the 200 butterfly and a top mark of 2:05.85 in the 200 backstroke. In the future, Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh could push for a pair of sub-2:05s. She’s already been 2:04.70 in the 200 butterfly and owns a career best of 2:07.15 in the 200 backstroke.

How fast will Regan Smith go in the coming weeks? Certainly, she seems poised for even more spectacular efforts. If nothing else, she has produced one of the finest career doubles in the 200-meter events.