Win in Pro Swim Series 100 Fly Reflects Regan Smith’s Comfort with Doubles

Regan Smith of the United States of America (USA) reacts after winning in the women’s 200m Backstroke Final during the Swimming events at the Gwangju 2019 FINA World Championships, Gwangju, South Korea, 27 July 2019.
Photo Courtesy: PATRICK B. KRAEMER

Win in Pro Swim Series 100 Fly Reflects Regan Smith’s Comfort with Doubles

The double that Regan Smith faced Friday night at the TYR Pro Swim Series in San Antonio didn’t quite match up with what Olympic Trials will have in store.

But in the list of things to take from one of the most significant tune-ups before this summer’s quest for Olympic berths, Smith gleaned a little more information about the challenge of a multi-swim finals session as she schemes for Trials.

Smith finished second Friday night to Kathleen Baker in the 200 backstroke in San Antonio, going 2:08.80 in an event where she holds the world record. Later in the night, she won the 100 butterfly in 57.88 seconds.

Considering that the first event is squarely in her wheelhouse and the latter ranks perhaps fourth among her specialties, it adds a slight wrinkle to what Smith might swim in Omaha in three months’ time.

“The 100 fly is such a tight field, but I love that race so much and I have a lot of fun swimming it every single time,” Smith said in a virtual mixed zone via Zoom afterward. “And I love training it in practice, too. Mike (Parratto, her coach) and I have done a really good job of focusing on fly a lot, so in terms of importance, it’s really hard to say. I’d really love to swim it at Trials if it ends up working out, but I would say I’m still prioritizing my backstrokes and 2-fly. But I really love the 100 fly, so if I can make it work, I absolutely want to do it.”

Looking ahead to the schedule in Omaha, adding the 100 fly would mean back-to-back doubles for Smith early in the race. Already, it’s likely that Smith will contest the 100 back final (another event where she holds the world record) and the semifinals of the 200 fly on the third night of competition. But adding the 100 fly would mean she’d face a double on Night 2, the 100 fly final before the 100 back semifinal.

It would be a calculated risk to have Smith chase the 100 fly, especially given the depth in the American ranks. The timing is unfortunate with it coming so early in the meet: Were it later, Smith might be more apt to chase the 100 fly secure in her placement on the plane to Tokyo.

Whatever she and Parratto choose in Omaha, she’ll certainly deal with at least one double. (It could be two doubles in Tokyo, with the mixed medley relay final on the same night as the women’s 200 back.) Nights like Friday help her prep for the physical and mental demands of that.

“Meets like this, it’s a really good opportunity to practice and train for the real deal at Trials,” Smith said. “It’s definitely a great confidence booster because sometimes those doubles can be kind of daunting and intimidating, so just getting in those practice sessions at these types of meets is great. I think I’m feeling pretty good about that.”

The physical aspect is the most onerous, though Smith said Friday afforded a chance to drill through the mental challenge, as well.

“The hardest part for me mentally is the lead-up to the entire session,” Regan Smith said. “So in between prelims and finals is when I’m kind of thinking about my double the most. Once we get into the session, I kind of just let all those feelings kind of go off to the side and I just go into work mode. But I definitely have the most nerves in between prelims and finals when I have time to think about my schedule for the night.”

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Mark J

    I would love to see what she could do in the 200 IM

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