Regan Smith breaks American record in 200m butterfly

Regan Smith

Regan Smith broke one of the longest-standing American records in swimming, lowering the women’s 200m butterfly record that stood since 2009.

Smith, a former world record holder in the 100m and 200m backstrokes, clocked 2:03.87 in the 200m fly at a meet at her training base of Arizona State on Sunday, according to USA Swimming.

She took down the previous record of 2:04.14 set by Mary Mohler at the 2009 World Championships. Mohler’s was the third-oldest U.S. women’s swimming record in an individual Olympic event after the 200m individual medley (Ariana Kukors, also 2009) and 400m IM (Katie Hoff, 2008). Those are the lone women’s American records remaining from the super-suit era of 2007 through 2009.

Smith’s time is also the fourth-best in world history behind China’s Liu Zige‘s world record of 2:01.81 from 2009, Australian Jessicah Schipper‘s 2:03.41 from 2009 and China’s Zhang Yufei‘s 2:03.86 from the Tokyo Olympics.

Canadian 16-year-old Summer McIntosh won last year’s world title in a world junior record 2:05.20, then went 2:04.70 in March.

The U.S.’ longest gold-medal drought in any swimming event at the worlds is in the women’s 200m fly. None since Summer Sanders in 1991 (and none at the Olympics since Misty Hyman in 2000).

Smith, a three-time Tokyo Olympic medalist, is the fastest U.S. woman in 2023 in five events: the 100m and 200m back, 100m and 200m fly and 200m IM. The U.S. Championships are in three weeks in Indianapolis, where the top two in most individual events qualify for July’s world championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

Smith is excelling after turning professional following her freshman year of college, leaving Stanford to be coached by Bob Bowman at Arizona State last summer.

Smith, 21, won 200m fly silver and 100m back bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, plus silver on the women’s medley relay. Last June, she won the world title in the 100m back, three years after winning the 200m back world title. She was fourth in the 200m fly at 2022 Worlds.

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Penny Oleksiak to miss world swimming championships

Penny Oleksiak

Seven-time Olympic medalist Penny Oleksiak of Canada will miss July’s world swimming championships because she does not expect to be recovered enough from knee and shoulder injuries.

“The bar that we set was, can she be as good as she’s ever been at these world championships?” coach Ryan Mallette said in a press release. “We just don’t feel like we’re going to be ready to be 100 percent yet this summer. Our focus is to get her back to 100 percent as soon as possible to get ready for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

Oleksiak, who owns the Canadian record of seven Olympic medals (across all sports), missed Canada’s trials meet for worlds two months ago due to the injuries. She was still named to the team at the time in hope that she would be ready in time for worlds.

The 22-year-old returned to competition last month at a Mare Nostrum meet in Barcelona, after which she chose to focus on continued rehab rather than compete at worlds in Fukuoka, Japan.

“Swimming at Mare Nostrum was a checkpoint for worlds, and I gave it my best shot,” Oleksiak said in the release. “We reviewed my swims there, and it showed me the level I want to get back to. Now I need to focus on my rehab to get back to where I want to be and put myself in position to be at my best next season.”

Oleksiak had knee surgery last year to repair a meniscus. After that, she developed a left shoulder injury.

In 2016, Oleksiak tied for Olympic 100m freestyle gold with American Simone Manuel. She also earned 100m butterfly silver in Rio and 200m free bronze in Tokyo, along with four relay medals between those two Games.

At last year’s worlds, she earned four relay medals and placed fourth in the 100m free.

She anchored the Canadian 4x100m free relay to silver behind Australia at the most recent Olympics and worlds.

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Claire Curzan gets two wins in 17-minute span at Pro Swim Series


Claire Curzan won the 50m butterfly and 200m backstroke, with just 17 minutes in between, at a Pro Swim Series stop in Mission Viejo, California, on Friday night.

Curzan, a five-time 2022 World Championships medalist, is ramping up for next month’s U.S. Championships, where the top two in most individual events qualify for July’s world championships in Fukuoka, Japan.

Mission Viejo marks her first meet in an Olympic-size 50-meter pool this year after competing for Stanford in the winter in smaller, 25-yard NCAA pools.

On Friday, Curzan won the 50m fly in 25.88 seconds, the fastest time by an American this year in an event that is not on the Olympic program but is contested at worlds. She edged Stanford teammate Torri Huske, the other top U.S. female butterflier, by two tenths.

Seventeen minutes later, Curzan won the 200m back in 2:07.78, a personal best by 1.96 seconds. She prevailed by 1.23 seconds over world bronze medalist Rhyan White.

Curzan, 18, is now the second-fastest American this year in that event behind former world record holder Regan Smith.

Curzan’s individual medal at last year’s worlds came in the 100m back (bronze), along with four relay medals. She did not contest the 200m back at last year’s U.S. trials, where Phoebe Bacon and White made the team in 2:05.08 and 2:05.13.

Mission Viejo, the final Pro Series stop before nationals, finishes with finals on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on CNBC airs highlights on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ET and Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET.

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