Regan Smith booked her first Olympic berth when she won the women's 100-meter backstroke race at the US Olympic Swimming Trials Wave 2 at the CHI Health Center in Omaha on Tuesday.
Regan Smith clocked an impressive 58.35 seconds and stamped her authority as the one to watch out for in the 100-meter backstroke at the Tokyo Olympics 2021.
It wasn’t an easy race for Smith. She took an early lead and at the half-way mark in 27.9 seconds, Smith was well in control. However, a stiff challenge by both Katharine Berkoff and Rhyan White soon after made things interesting.
Ultimately, Regan Smith held on to a marginal lead to emerge victorious with a time difference of 0.25 seconds from Rhyan White, who also booked an Olympic berth.
Regan Smith was consistent throughout the US Olympic Swimming Trials. She had the best timing in all three stages of the trials – the prelims, the semifinal and the final. She clocked 57.92 seconds in the semifinals, which was the best of the lot.
Regan Smith is the swimmer to beat
The Minnesota swimmer is no pushover. She made heads turn when she sizzled at the 2019 World Championships by setting world records in the 100 meters and 200 meters backstroke along with a gold medal in the 4x100m relay.
It was at the same World Championships where she swam her record time of 57.57 in the 100-meter backstroke. Smith’s record was later broken by Australian Kaylee McKeown when she clocked 57.45 seconds at the Australian Olympic Trials.
Regan Smith appeared relieved but emotional after the race. She put her hands on her mouth as she looked at the results board in awe, which confirmed her maiden berth for the Olympics.
With the monkey off her back, Regan Smith can now race without any pressure when she competes in the 200-meter fly and the 200-meter backstroke. The preliminaries for the 200-meter fly starts on Wednesday while the heats for her next category will start on Friday.
For the record, Regan Smith is the world record holder in the 200-meter fly category and will be gunning to make the cut to the Tokyo Olympics in more than two categories.
Tokyo is expected to host a humdinger of a contest when Regan Smith locks horns with Australian Kaylee McKeown.
Results: 100m backstroke final
1. Regan Smith - 58.35
2. Rhyan White - 58.60
3. Olivia Smoliga - 58.72
4. Katharine Berkoff - 58.82
5. Isabelle Stadden - 59.37