Back in the Water, Regan Smith Is Filling the Time During Quarantine

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Regan Smith Photo Courtesy: Connor Trimble

One of the clubs that returned to the water this week is Riptide Swim Team, which means that world-record backstroker Regan Smith is back training.

The club, based in Apple Valley, Minnesota, returned to training Monday at the Bluewater Aquatic Center. The training is under new procedures, some of which Smith related in an interview with the New York Times Friday.

Before getting back in the water, Smith relied on a treadmill, snow often making running outside her Lakeville home a less viable option. She said she has “been completely fine” with many of the things that she’s missed in her senior year, from prom to graduation. She would’ve missed the latter anyway, with a training trip scheduled to Fort Myers, Fla., to tune up for Olympic Trials before everything was cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Smith will swim at Stanford in the fall. She toyed with the idea of deferring her enrollment but ultimately decided that being in Palo Alto would help her best prep for the Tokyo Olympics next summer:

“It was something I really had to think long and hard about. It’s a big decision. It’s a big change. I’m lucky I have the opportunity to go to an incredible school. I know that the Stanford coach, Greg Meehan, will work really well with my coach, Mike Parratto, and they collaborate really well. I know it will be a hard adjustment, but I think I’m ready. For me mentally, I think moving on and heading off to school and getting a change of scenery and pace will be really great.”

Smith’s new routine is much different, with Riptide’s 300 swimmers staggered to allow only one swimmer per lane. The result is a practice day that extends from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. to accommodate as many people as possible. Her father, Paul Smith, is Riptide’s program director.

As described by the Sun This Week:

Before they could come into the building, however, they [swimmers] have to read and abide by a detailed set of guidelines the club sent to members last week in advance of the re-opening. The guidelines told swimmers when to arrive, what door to use, what to wear and what not to wear. It even spelled out the protocol for bathroom breaks. …

Swimmers needed to have their temperature checked (no more than 100.4 degrees) before going into the pool and answer two COVID-19-related screening questions at a check-in table. They needed to arrive wearing their suits and caps. Backpacks and cellphones weren’t allowed. Water bottles were allowed and even encouraged so swimmers didn’t have to use drinking fountains.

Paul is hopeful that Regan Smith and other elite swimmers could get back into competition by August. In the meantime, Regan is improving where she can, on physical aspects like her flexibility. Other than that, it’s just the struggle to fill the quarantined time.

“I haven’t really found any super solid hobbies,” she said. “I color here and there. I’m still trying to figure out how to fill space.”

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4 comments

  1. avatar
    Nathan

    But….but…but….what about all those old people with underlying health issues she’s going to infect with her Coronavirus? : ””’ (

    • avatar
      Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

      Nathan, pretty silly comment. She is working in a controlled environment – and I can’t see a single person in these threads who doesn’t want that or find it possible, doable and worth encouraging. Mass club returns and the scream of ‘open the pools!’ with no sense of ‘we get it: safety first’ is a world apart.

  2. Leslie Cichocki

    I’m jealous I wish I was Governor JB Pritzker this is what a elite swimmer should be doing to make Tokyo.

  3. avatar
    Pam Pam

    I wish me girls can go back to their practice very soon. Of course they will have to follow all the safety and health guidelines. I have a close family member is a nurse so I understand why they aren’t opening up but please know we are not sending our kids if we feel the pool is unsafe. Trust me, I care my kids more then anyone else in the world.

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