TYR Pro Series Westmont: Regan Smith Blasts U.S. Open Record in 200 Backstroke; Leah Hayes Shines (Women’s Recap)


TYR Pro Series Westmont: Regan Smith Blasts U.S. Open Record in 200 Backstroke; Leah Hayes Shines (Women’s Recap)

With the World Championships just a few months away in Fukuoka, Japan, may of the top swimmers in the world are in the process of fine-tuning their programs and preparation the marquee meet of the summer. Count Regan Smith and Abbey Weitzeil in that crowd, along with rising teenage star Leah Hayes. All were in action on Saturday night, as the TYR Pro Series stop in Westmont, Illinois came to a close.

Here is what unfolded during the Day Four finals.

Women’s 1500 Freestyle

Beatriz Dizotti and Kristel Kobrich engaged in a two-woman duel over 30 laps, with Dizotti emerging victorious in 16:08.29. Dizotti, from Brazil, pulled away over the last few lengths and gave herself a cushion at the finish, as Chile’s Kobrich checked in with a time of 16:10.58.


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Women’s 200 Individual Medley

Third after the opening butterfly leg, teenage standout Leah Hayes moved into the lead on the backstroke leg and cruised to a dominant victory. Hayes touched in 2:10.03, serving evidence that she is in position to return to the World Championships and chase another medal. Last summer, Hayes was the bronze medalist in the event, and the University of Virginia recruit looks every bit ready to land on another podium.

Hayes trailed Beata Nelson after the first 50 meters, but wasted little time taking command during the backstroke portion of the race. She then extended her lead on the breaststroke leg to create plenty of room to beat runnerup Anastasya Gorbenko of Israel. Gorbenko closed well on the freestyle leg and was timed in 2:11.23, with Izzy Ivey taking third in 2:12.56.


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Women’s 200 Backstroke

Regan Smith, following up on three victories from earlier in the meet, put on a show in the 200 backstroke, an event in which her world record was recently topped by Australian Kaylee McKeown. Going out under world-record pace and still under at the midway point, Smith clocked a sensational effort of 2:04.76, good for a U.S. Open standard. Second-place finisher Isabelle Stadden was five seconds back in 2:09.77.

Smith has been phenomenal during the TYR Pro Series and her work with coach Bob Bowman in Arizona is clearly clicking. This swim can be argued as her finest since joining Bowman and opting to turn professional last year. While Smith has been sub-58 in the 100 backstroke and sub-57 in the 100 butterfly, going under 2:05 in the 200 back at this point in the season is spectacular, and suggests a special matchup is ahead with McKeown at the World Championships.

Smith was out 28.93 and turned at the 100-meter mark in 1:00.38. While she fell off world-record pace over the back half, Smith remained in control and delivered splits of 31.91 and 32.47. Prior to her 200 back, Smith earned wins in the 100 fly, 200 fly and 100 back. The former U.S. Open record was held by Phoebe Bacon at 2:05.08, while Smith holds the American record at 2:03.35.


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Women’s 50 Breaststroke

Olympic champion Lydia Jacoby won a stacked 50 breaststroke, going 30.29 to edge fellow American and Olympic titlist Lilly King (30.44). Jacoby was the 2020 gold medalist in the 100 breaststroke and flashed her speed at half that length to beat King, who was the 2016 Olympic champ in the 100 breast. Germany’s Anna Elendt also broke the 31-second barrier, touching in 30.68 for third place.

Jacoby’s triumph was her second of the weekend over King, as they also met in the 100 breaststroke, where Jacoby closed strongly to get to the wall first. The rivals will clash again in the coming months, first at the United States International Team Trials and, potentially, at the World Championships.


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Women’s 100 Freestyle

Abbey Weitzeil backed up her win in the 50 freestyle by completing the sprint double, this time taking first place in the 100 freestyle by more than a second. Consistent throughout the TYR Pro Series, Weitzeil dropped a winning mark of 53.36, which handed her a comfortable win over Olivia Smoliga (54.37) and Erika Brown (54.59).

Weitzeil built a commanding lead over the first lap, as she split 25.31, and she also turned in the fastest closing split, a 28.05. Based on the way Weitzeil has performed over the past few months, a sub-53 effort appears to be in the works, an effort that would be critical to United States relay hopes on the international stage.


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