Regan Smith swam the sixth-fastest 100m backstroke in history, completing yet another impressive meet in Des Moines on Saturday.
Smith, a Minnesota high school senior, won the 100m back in 58.18 seconds at a Tyr Pro Series stop.
Smith, who lowered the world record to 57.57 leading off a relay at the 2019 World Championships, beat a field that included former world-record holder Kathleen Baker (second in 58.56) and world bronze medalist Olivia Smoliga (third in 59.25). Full Des Moines results are here.
“That’s my second-best time ever, so I really can’t complain,” Smith said.
That trio should gather again at the U.S. Olympic Trials in June, when the top two per individual event qualify for the Tokyo Games.
Smith’s Olympic prospects are pretty promising.
In Des Moines, she swept the backstrokes and lowered her personal bests in the 100m and 200m butterflies.
Smith, who broke both backstroke world records at July’s world championships, now ranks second and third among Americans in the butterflies since the start of 2019, though she may not swim the 100m fly at trials.
In other events Saturday, Caeleb Dressel outsprinted Nathan Adrian and Michael Andrew to win the 50m freestyle in 21.51 seconds. Dressel, the third-fastest man in history with a best of 21.04, also won the 100m butterfly on Friday.
Andrew won the 200m individual medley in 1:56.83, a personal best by .66 of a second. He remains the second-fastest American in the event since the start of 2019.
“It’s a relatively open event,” for the U.S. Olympic team, said Andrew, who previously lowered his 100m breaststroke personal best in Des Moines, rebounding after not earning an individual medal at worlds. “Try and make a statement to say, hey guys, this is a race we’re focusing on. We want you to know, we’re coming for it.”
Ryan Lochte, trying to make his fifth Olympics at age 35, was seventh in the 200m IM in 2:01.60. Lochte is the world-record holder and four-time world champion in the event. More notably for Tokyo Olympic hopes, he ranks fifth among Americans since the start of 2019. It may be his best hope at trials.
Madisyn Cox and Melanie Margalis tied for the win in the women’s 200m IM in 2:09.03. That’s a personal best for Cox by .66. Baker, who wasn’t in the race, remains fastest among Americans since the start of 2019 with a 2:08.84.
Olympic champion and world-record holder Ryan Murphy won a battle of the U.S.’ top backstrokers, taking the 100m in 52.79. Jacob Pebley, a Rio Olympic 200m backstroker, was second in 54.45, while 2012 Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers was fourth in 54.62.
Simone Manuel and Lilly King took runner-up finishes in the 50m free and 200m breast, respectively, at a meet where top swimmers are not peaked as they continue to build up for the trials.
The Pro Series moves to Mission Viejo, Calif., for the next stop from April 16-19.
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