World Championships: Regan Smith Top Qualifier in the Women’s 100m Backstroke; Kaylee McKeown A Late Withdrawal

EYES ON THE PRIZE: American Regan Smith, an impressive start to the 100m backstroke. Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Regan Smith Tops Qualifiers in the Women’s 100m Backstroke With Kaylee McKeown A Late Withdrawal

The USA’s former world record holder Regan Smith produced the most impressive swim of five heats to top the qualifiers in the women’s 100m backstroke on night two of the World Swimming Championships in after the last minute withdrawal of Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown.

The Australian world record holder and number one seed, deciding to concentrate on tonight’s 200m individual medley final at Budapest’s Duna Arena.

Smith, the 20-year-old from Stanford, won the first of the three seeded heats in a slick 58.31 – declaring she means business en-route to tonight’s semi-finals.

The 2019 world champion in the 200m backstroke, knows she will have to remain on her game with two-time defending champion, Canada’s Kylie Masse, winning her heat in 58.89.

Masse took the title in Budapest in 2017 and defended her crown ahead of Australia’s Minna Atherton in Gwangju in 2019 and will be hunting a history-making third crown – the first swimmer to do so in the 100m backstroke.

Smith and Masse were the only swimmers under 59 seconds with fifth heat winner, US 100m butterfly finalist Claire Curzan the third fastest qualifier in 59.09 ahead of China’s Letian Wan (59.09) and European champion Kira Toussaint in the 50m backstroke next in 59.69.

Australian head coach Rohan Taylor told News Corp the decision to withdraw McKeown was to allow her to put everything into trying to win the medley.

“It’s obviously a big call but it’s about the long term development,” Taylor said.

“Basically she’ll feel more confident just putting all her eggs in the basket for that medley and going for that.

“She’ll still race (100m backstroke) at the Commonwealth Games (in Birmingham) and obviously at some point she’ll have to look at the double, that’s the reality but for now it’s just helping her just get used to it.”


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Swim along
1 month ago

Curzan for backstroke podium!!!

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