Regan Smith Cracks Longstanding American Record in 200 Butterfly at Sun Devil Open; Moves to No. 4 All-Time

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Regan Smith Cracks Longstanding American Record in 200 Butterfly at Sun Devil Open; Moves to No. 4 All-Time

When Regan Smith opted to not contest the 200-meter backstroke on the final night of the Sun Devil Open, the decision suggested an assault on the 200 butterfly by the 21-year-old standout. Well, Smith certainly delivered at the Mona Plummer Aquatic Center, as she punctuated the weekend with an American-record performance.

Racing to a three-plus second triumph over Hali Flickinger, Smith delivered an American standard of 2:03.87, good for the fourth-fastest time in history. The outing also broke the 2009 American record of Mary DeScenza, who clocked 2:04.14 at the World Championships in Rome. Flickinger touched second to Smith with a time of 2:07.37.

Entering the final day of the meet, Smith had already set a personal best in the 200 individual medley and registered an impressive double in the 100 butterfly/100 backstroke. However, her showing in the 200 fly was on another level, with only Liu Zige (2:01.81), Jessicah Schipper (2:03.41) and Zhang Yufei (2:03.86) ever going faster.

Smith opened her race with a first-50 split of 27.75 and came through the 100-meter mark in 59.58. Smith delivered a split of 32.24 for the third lap and closed in 32.05. Smith is the reigning Olympic silver medalist in the event, and has clearly elevated her status since that podium finish in Tokyo.

Heading into the United States International Team Trials in Indianapolis later this month, Smith is carrying significant momentum – as much as anyone in the American arsenal. In addition to this weekend’s standout results, Smith turned in several top-tier performances throughout the TYR Pro Series. The 21-year-old’s compilation of strong efforts is clear proof that her move to train under coach Bob Bowman in Tempe – which is coming up on one year – has been beneficial.

On the men’s side, Chase Kalisz came out on top in the 200 fly, on the strength of a 1:56.34 swim. Kalisz was followed by Alex Colson, who went 1:57.87. The win was Kalisz’s second of the weekend, complementing his triumph in the 200 individual medley from Friday night.

In a reversal of the finishing order from the 50 freestyle earlier in the meet, Olivia Smoliga edged Simone Manuel for victory in the 100 freestyle. Smoliga built a slight lead on Manuel at the midway point and extended that margin over the second lap, touching in 54.54. Manuel also dipped under the 55-second barrier, going 54.93.

Jonny Kulow led a quartet of athletes under the 50-second mark in the men’s 100 freestyle, as his personal best of 48.70 held up for victory. Kulow was one of three swimmers to go sub-49, with Ryan Held placing second in 48.88 and Patrick Sammon clocking 48.93 for third place. Jack Dolan finished four in 49.95.

Hungarian Hubert Kos cruised to victory in the 200 backstroke, his winning mark of 1:57.25 nearly five seconds quicker than the runnerup effort of Owen McDonald (2:02.17).