Regan Smith Doubles at Sun Devil Open, Swims World’s Fastest 100 Backstroke

Regan Smith 1
Regan Smith -- Photo Courtesy: Joe Johnson

Regan Smith Doubles at Sun Devil Open, Swims World’s Fastest 100 Backstroke

One day after establishing herself as a legitimate international force in the 200 IM by becoming the fourth-fastest American ever in the event, Regan Smith returned to more familiar races Saturday at the Sun Devil Open. The 21-year-old continued her strong buildup to next month’s U.S. Nationals with further wins in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke.

In the fly, Smith swam a time of 57.05, which fell just shy of her best time of 56.60 from the TYR Pro Swim Series in Fort Lauderdale in March. Smith has never represented the U.S. internationally in the 100 fly, but she ranks third in the world so far behind Olympic silver medalist Zhang Yufei and Olympic champion Maggie Mac Neil.

Less than 50 minutes later, Smith was back in the pool for the 100 back, and she produced a time of 57.83. She beat her previous season best of 57.90 from April, and she also moved to the front of the world rankings, narrowly surpassing Kaylee McKeown’s 57.84 from March. Well back in second place was Olivia Smoliga in 1:00.23.

The time ranks as the ninth-fastest swim in history, and only McKeown, Smith and Kylie Masse have ever beaten that time. Smith posted one of the quickest closing splits of her career at 29.57, even faster than the 29.83 she finished in on the way to the first sub-58 performance in history four years ago.

Also winning twice Saturday in Tempe, Ariz., was Hubert Kos, the Hungarian individual medley specialist now training in coach Bob Bowman’s group at Arizona State. Kos won the 100 fly in 52.15 before edging Jack Dolan in the 100 back, 54.00 to 54.04.

In the women’s 200 free, Hali Flickinger won her second event of the meet in 1:58.70, while Patrick Sammon swam a time of 1:47.84 in the men’s race to beat Sun Devil teammates Grant House (1:48.56) and Julian Hill (1:49.41). The win in the men’s 400 IM went to Jay Litherland in 4:16.45, pushing the 2021 Olympic runnerup to fourth in the country this season behind Carson FosterChase Kalisz and Bobby Finke.