Regan Smith Takes Down World Junior Record to Lead 200 Back Prelims

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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World Swimming Championships Regan Smith

Gwangju 2019

Day Six Heats

Women’s 200 Backstroke

17-year-old Regan Smith of the United States didn’t need to swim anywhere close to her lifetime best of 2:06.43 (also the world junior record) in order to comfortably qualify for the semifinals, but Smith put forth a big effort. Smith went out in 1:00.94, not far off Missy Franklin’s world record-pace (1:00.50) and ended up holding on down the stretch despite swimming almost four seconds ahead of her heat. Smith finished in 2:06.01, erasing her own WJR set at last year’s U.S. Nationals in Irvine, California.

Smith has won just a single senior-level international medal in her career, a bronze in the 200 back at Pan Pacs in 2018, but she could be in position for better in Gwangju as she qualified first for the semifinals by more than two seconds. Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu, the silver medalist in the event at the 2016 Olympics and 2017 World Championships, earned the second seed in 2:08.34, while Italy’s Margherita Panziera, last year’s European Champion and the No. 1 swimmer in the world this year at 2:05.72, qualified third in 2:08.51.

Australia’s Kaylee McKeown, who preceeded Smith as world junior record-holder, took fourth in 2:09.17, followed by the top two finishers from the 100 back earlier this week, Canada’s Kylie Masse (2:09.18) and Australia’s Minna Atherton (2:09.32). The USA’s Kathleen Baker, who won gold at Pan Pacs last year, qualified ninth in 2:10.08, while Canada’s Taylor Ruck, who took fourth in the 100 back, finished 14th in 2:10.67.


  1. Regan Smith (USA), 2:06.01
  2. Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2:08.34
  3. Margherita Panziera (ITA), 2:08.51
  4. Kaylee McKeown (AUS), 2:09.17
  5. Kylie Masse (CAN), 2:09.18
  6. Minna Atherton (AUS), 2:09.32
  7. Katalin Burian (HUN), 2:09.70
  8. Ali Galyer (NZL), 2:09.98
  9. Kathleen Baker (USA), 2:10.08
  10. Tatiana Salcutan (MDA), 2:10.29
  11. Anastasia Avdeeva (RUS), 2:10.34
  12. Natsumi Sakai (JPN), 2:10.40
  13. Africa Zamorano Sanz (ESP), 2:10.50
  14. Taylor Ruck (CAN), 2:10.67
  15. Liu Yaxin (CHN), 2:10.72
  16. Jessica Fullalove (GBR), 2:11.08

Read more about the FINA World Swimming Championships.

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3 years ago

Jill Massie-Braun

3 years ago

The future is here!