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Jun 18, 2024 10:35 pm

Regan Smith retakes world record in 100 backstroke at U.S. Trials

regan smith

Getting to the Olympics was the easy part for Regan Smith. Following up her performance Tuesday night once she’s in Paris may be the real challenge.

After missing out on a spot in the Olympics by a tenth of a second on Sunday, Smith left no doubt in the women’s 100-meter backstroke final at the U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials in Indianapolis on Tuesday, setting a world record to clinch her place in the Summer Olympics in Paris in July.

Smith, who finished in third in the women’s 100 butterfly final two days ago, touched the wall in 57.13 in the backstroke final, beating Australian Kaylee McKeown’s world record by two-tenths of a second. McKeown set the record in October 2023.

Smith set the world record once before in 2019 before McKeown took it in 2021.

“It was part of the plan,” Smith told NBC Sports when asked about recapturing the world record at the trials. “I’m so proud of myself. Backstroke is hard for me sometimes. To fight back like this and get that back, it means a lot.”

The 22-year-old won two silvers and a bronze — that latter in the 100 backstroke — in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Katherine Berkoff finished second at 57.91 to take the other Olympic spot in the event.

In the day’s other final, current American record holder Robert Finke won the men’s 800 freestyle by nearly a full second with a time of 7:44.22.

Luke Whitlock finished second at 7:45.19 — more than four seconds clear of third-place Daniel Matheson.

Finke dominated from the start, leading at every split. The 24-year-old will defend his gold medal in Paris. He won gold in the 800 free and 1,500 free in Tokyo.

The trials run through Sunday. For each event other than the 100 and 200 freestyles, the winner locks in a spot in the Olympics and the runner-up most likely earns a spot once the entire Team USA is filled at the end of the trials. The third- through sixth-place finishers in the 100 and 200 freestyle races can also make Olympic relay teams.

Five finals take place on Wednesday:
–Women’s 100-meter freestyle
–Men’s 200 butterfly
–Women’s 1,500 freestyle
–Men’s 200 breaststroke
–Men’s 100 freestyle

–Field Level Media

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