FLASH! Regan Smith Shatters World Record in Women’s 100 Backstroke: ‘So Psyched’ (VIDEO)

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

FLASH! Olympic Trials Day 4 Finals: Regan Smith Shatters World Record in Women’s 100 Backstroke

Regan Smith erupted with emotion as she saw “WORLD RECORD” on the scoreboard.

“It was like an A+ plus race for so many girls in that field but I’m so psyched,” Smith said.

How psyched?

“Just like, f—, yeah! You know, like long time coming. You know, like it’s about time. So I was
psyched,” she said. “And the feeling of getting it tonight versus getting it five years ago was like so different. I can’t really like pinpoint exactly what was different about each race five years and then tonight but yeah, I was just psyched out of my mind. It was great.”

Smith threw down a world record 57.13 to win the race. Berkoff was second in 57.91 near the previous American record.

The previous world record was set by Australian Kaylee McKeown in Budapest in 2023. A record Smith had previously set in 2019.

“It’s incredibly rewarding. When you’re 17, when you’re a teenager and I had not really done much to my name yet, and you’re right, it was very easy. I had no pressure on me. I was always the youngest. Nobody really expected much out of me, and so it was so easy to walk into races feeling so fearless and not really caring what the outcome was. And I really just shocked myself at that meet in 2019 because I didn’t believe I was capable of it,” Smith said. “Now tonight, I’m in a much different place in my life. I’m a lot older, obviously. The pressure is a lot different. The expectations are a lot different for myself and for like other people around me.

“So it’s a very different experience but I think I’ve, like, learned a lot over these five years, and I’ve had a lot of lows, in backstroke, in particular. But I think it’s taught me a lot and it’s helped me definitely strengthen things on the mental side. Because I think I’ve always had it physically. I just for a long time didn’t have it mentally.”

So Smith went to work.

“I started working consistently with my sports psychologist Emily Klueh back in, like, October. And she was so good at drilling into me, like looking at the facts. Like, remaining logical. And saying, okay, here is what’s true about you and who you are as a swimmer, as an athlete, as a person, and here is
what’s not true. Like here is what’s letting your — here is your emotions and here is what’s not true about what you’re telling yourself. So once she drilled that into me over and over and over; and then Bob (Bowman), as well, giving me insane sets in building my confidence physically, and then being around a lot of male teammates who are just so good at being dogs every day in practice and not caring. I think that all just kind of came together.

“It’s still a work-in-progress, right. So I’m not sure if there’s an ‘Ah-Ha’ moment, but I think just every meet that I’ve been to, I’ve been consistently feeling more confident in myself and more sure of myself, and I have less self-doubt in my head and I’m able to just look at things through a very logical and steady lens.”

Smith of course had the previous American record set Monday at the Olympic Trials in 57.47.

Berkoff’s Wolfpack teammate Kennedy Noble was third in 58.81, ahead of Tennessee’s Josephine Fuller (59.03) and another Wolfpack swimmer, Olympian Rhyan White, was fifth in 59.07, ahead of fellow Tokyo Olympian Phoebe Bacon (59.37), Leah Shackley (59.40) and Olympian Claire Curzan (59.57).

Smith was out in 27.94 to take the lead and came home in 29.19. Berkoff was second the entire way, out in 28.01 and back in 29.90.

Smith is headed to Paris for her second Games, while Berkoff joins the family legacy of Olympians. Her father was an Olympic backstroker in the 1980s.

“So I knew that I had it in me but for a long time, I didn’t, so I’m really, really happy that I finally started to believe in myself. And like after seeing Gretchen break the world record in the 100 fly on night one, I was so inspired by that. Doing that alongside next to her was great. So I really wanted to do something special myself. And like you said, seeing Katharine break 58, that is so freaking hard to do, and yeah, she’s one of five women to ever do it; and that was awesome, getting to race next to her and the two of us going two of the fastest times ever in that event,” Smith said.

Smith won the bronze medal in Tokyo in the 100 backstroke, the silver in the 200 butterfly and silver on the medley relay for the U.S.

She took the silver at the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka in the 100 backstroke, part of a five-medal haul.

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1 month ago

So glad she did it! McKeowns reign just ended!

1 month ago
Reply to  Ethan0

Hardly. Finally she has a legitimate rival. It will give her added motivation to regain her 3rd WR in Backstroke and secure a second Gold in this event, along with the 200m.

1 month ago

So the Gauntlet has been thrown!
But does Regan have the mental fortitude when she comes up against Kaylee’s thus far psychological dominance? We shall see in Paris, where I’m sure a sub 57 will be needed to win Gold.

1 month ago
Reply to  Kanga1

Of course she has the fortitude. It showed in her swim to break the world and her humility afterward to know she has a main rival she needs to beat. Regan Smith will for sure break 57 and win gold, after all she just broke the world record in a football stadium! She will thrive at Paris.

1 month ago
Reply to  Ethan0

As I’m sure proven Champion Kaylee wiil.
One thing for certain is that it’ll be a ‘cracking’ Final! In the 100m at least.

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