Swimmer Regan Smith, a three-time Tokyo Olympic medalist, turned professional after her freshman year of college, leaving Stanford to be coached by Bob Bowman at Arizona State.
“After a tremendous amount of reflection and soul-searching, I have chosen to pursue my competitive swimming goals as a professional athlete,” Smith said in a press release. “After spending a substantial part of the last two years on my mental game, it’s time to focus on increasing my training intensity. I’m entirely confident that Bob’s leadership and training will have me exactly where I want to be for Paris 2024. I believe that, in the long run, this is the best way for me to continue to develop as an athlete.”
Smith, 20, won 200m butterfly silver and 100m backstroke bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, plus silver on the women’s medley relay. In June, she won the world title in the 100m back, three years after winning the 200m back world title.
Smith broke both backstroke world records at the 2019 World Championships, then deferred matriculating at Stanford for one year after the Olympics were postponed by one year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Minnesota native still holds the 200m back world record.
“I am postponing my college degree to maximize my athletic competitive window and could not be more excited for this journey,” Smith said in the release. “I want to thank [Stanford coaches] Greg Meehan and Tracy Slusser, the Stanford staff and my Stanford teammates for their unwavering support and I wish them continued success.”
Bowman, the career-long coach of Michael Phelps, has been the head coach at Arizona State since 2015. His college group includes Frenchman Leon Marchand, who swept the men’s individual medleys at worlds.
Later Tuesday, Olympic 400m individual medley champion Chase Kalisz indicated that he is moving to Arizona to train under Bowman, his coach before he enrolled at the University of Georgia in 2012. Kalisz’s coach at Georgia, Jack Bauerle, announced his retirement in June.
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