U.S. Olympic Trials: Regan Smith on Top of 200 Back Prelims

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

U.S. Olympic Trials: Regan Smith on Top of 200 Back Prelims

World record-holder Regan Smith has already qualified for the Olympics in the 100 back and 200 fly, and the morning after she finished second to Hali Flickinger in the butterfly, she returned to the pool for the 200 back prelims. While she was well off her world record of 2:03.35 set at the 2019 World Championships, Smith still recorded a 2:07.81 to pace the field by more than a second. That time is about a second off Smith’s season-best time of 2:06.90, which ranks fifth in the world.

Smith should have no significant challenge in this event at Trials, although she will have Australia’s Kaylee McKeown waiting for her at the Olympics. McKeown swam a 2:04.28 earlier this week to break the Commonwealth and Australian records, and she is the third-fastest performer ever in the event.

Wisconsin’s Phoebe Bacon, who ranks fourth in the world at 2:06.84 after edging out Smith at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis in May, won her heat to qualify second for semifinals in 2:08.71, while Rhyan White, already second to Smith in the 100 back and soon to be officially named to the Olympic team, claimed the third seed in 2:08.92. Lisa Bratton was the only other swimmer under 2:10 with a 2:09.64, while 100 back fourth-place finisher Katharine Berkoff took fifth in 2:10.92.

Jo Jo Ramey, a 16-year-old from Fishers Area in Indiana, took sixth in 2:10.55, and Kentucky’s Sophie Sorenson was seventh in 2:10.93. Isabelle Stadden, considered a significant contender for the second spot along with Bacon and White and the seventh-ranked swimmer in the world at 2:07.28, qualified eighth in 2:11.01.

Kathleen Baker, a 2016 Olympian and former world record-holder in the 100 back, has had a difficult week that included missing the finals of both the 100 back and 200 IM, and she will have one more chance in the 200 back. Coming off a foot injury about a month ago, Baker swam a 2:11.78 for 11th place.

Aside from Smith and White, the only other swimmer already qualified for the Olympic team to compete was Hali Flickinger, who took 15th in 2:12.02. Beata Nelson was the last woman into the semifinals, qualifying 16th at 2:12.11.


  1. Regan Smith 2:07.81
  2. Phoebe Bacon 2:08.71
  3. Rhyan White 2:08.92
  4. Lisa Bratton 2:09.64
  5. Katharine Berkoff 2:10.92
  6. Jo Jo Ramey 2:10.55
  7. Sophie Sorenson 2:10.93
  8. Isabelle Stadden 2:11.01
  9. Kennedy Noble 2:11.51
  10. Ali DeLoof 2:11.71
  11. Kathleen Baker 2:11.78
  12. Sophie Lindner 2:11.82
  13. Mara Newman 2:11.91
  14. Summer Smith 2:12.01
  15. Hali Flickinger 2:12.02
  16. Beata Nelson 2:12.11

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