U.S. Open: Regan Smith Aces Grueling 200 Back-200 Fly Double; Katie Ledecky Shines in 1500 Free (Women’s Recap)

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Regan Smith (right) with Anna Peplowski -- Photo Courtesy: Emily Cameron

U.S. Open: Regan Smith Aces Grueling 200 Back-200 Fly Double; Katie Ledecky Shines in 1500 Free (Women’s Recap)

The final evening of swimming at the U.S. Open began with a usual display of Katie Ledecky dominance as she beat the field in the longest race in the pool by almost 25 seconds. But after that, the night belonged to Regan Smith, who was victorious in both the 200 backstroke and 200 butterfly. Smith’s 200 back performance was the highlight of a strong weekend of racing for the 21-year-old as she made a run at a sub-2:04 performance before coming back less than 90 minutes later and not letting any of her competition get close to her in the 200 fly.

In other events, Siobhan Haughey and Kate Douglass each won their third events of the meet after Haughey won both the 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke Friday and Douglass went back-to-back in the 200 IM and 50 free Thursday.

Women’s 1500 Freestyle


Paige Madden, Katie Ledecky & Leah Smith (left to right) receiving their awards for the 1500 freestyle — Photo Courtesy: Emily Cameron

She could not keep pace with Summer McIntosh in the 400 free or with Siobhan Haughey in the 200 free, but in the longest races on the program, Katie Ledecky is still unstoppable. Through four lengths of the 30-lap event, Ledecky was already four seconds up on her nearest rival, and she would continue out-splitting the field throughout on the way to an almost-25-second win.

Ledecky ended up touching in 15:46.38, which is a time that only 12 others have ever beaten in the sport’s history. Ledecky holds the world record at 15:20.48, and she swam an impressive 15:26.27 as she won the world title by 17 seconds this year. But Ledecky’s time at the U.S. Open, a meet where she is far from her best speed as she is in the midst of heavy training, would still have placed her fourth at this year’s World Championships.

The runnerup here was Paige Madden, who has focused more on distance races since moving her training to Arizona State University this year. Madden clocked 16:11.26, crushing her previous top mark of 16:29.63. Leah Smith was just behind in this place at 16:15.45, while Indiana’s Ghing Hwee Gan was the only other swimmer to break 16:30 (16:24.71).

Women’s 200 Backstroke

Regan Smith has tackled an ambitious racing schedule at the U.S. Open, but she has still been able to record some swift times. The 200 back was her best performance yet as she wiped almost a second off the meet record she set last year. Facing off with main domestic rivals Phoebe Bacon and Claire Curzan plus multi-event dynamo Summer McIntosh, Smith led wire-to-wire, going out on world-record pace and holding strong 31-high splits on the back end as she pulled away.

Smith finished in 2:04.27, which is substantially quicker than she swam to win silver behind Kaylee McKeown at this summer’s World Championships. Smith owns the American record in the event at 2:03.35, and she topped out at 2:03.80 earlier this year. But she still faces an uphill battle in the event after McKeown broke Smith’s previous world record earlier this year with a mark of 2:03.14.

Curzan took second in 2:06.39, just four hundredths off her lifetime best but quicker than the bronze-medal-winning time from the World Championships this year. McIntosh was just behind at 2:06.81, with Bacon fourth in 2:07.49.

Women’s 100 Freestyle

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Siobhan Haughey (left) with Abbey Weitzeil — Photo Courtesy: Emily Cameron

Friday evening, Siobhan Haughey had a dominant performance in the 200 free final before coming back minutes later to upset Lydia Jacoby for the 100 breaststroke win. This time, Haughey was too much for a field of top Americans in the 100 free, recording the quickest split on both the opening and closing lengths. Haughey, the silver medalist in this event at the 2021 Olympics and 2023 World Championships and history’s No. 3 performer at 52.02, recorded a solid time of 52.94.

Haughey’s win should not overshadow the strong swimming from Torri Huske in a second-place performance. Huske, taking a redshirt year from Stanford, was off most of her best times this summer, but she clocked 53.17 for second place here, much quicker than her 53.41 at this year’s U.S. Nationals which was only good for fifth place. Huske was only a quarter-second shy of her best time of 52.92, which earned bronze in the 100 free at the 2022 World Championships.

Abbey Weitzeil took third in 53.53, just ahead of Simone Manuel (53.65), while Gretchen Walsh also broke 53 (53.95).

Women’s 200 Breaststroke

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Kate Douglass — Photo Courtesy: Emily Cameron

Two days ago, Kate Douglass kicked off her U.S. Open in impressive fashion as she won back-to-back events, the 200 IM and 50 free. Douglass has been quiet since, skipping two of her other main events (100 fly and 100 free), but she was dynamite in the 200 breast, touching just behind Lilly King at the 50-meter mark before quickly pulling ahead and pulling away. Douglass split sub-37 on the final two lengths on her way to a world-class performance.

Douglass clocked 2:21.87, less than two-thirds of a second off her best time of 2:21.22. King fell back on the third 50 but surged home to pass Lithuanian Kotryna Teterevkova and take second in 2:23.98. Douglass was the silver medalist in the 200 breast at this year’s World Championships while King placed fourth.

Teterevkova took third in 2:24.22, followed by a pair of Douglass’ University of Virginia teammates, Alex Walsh (2:25.39) and Ella Nelson (2:25.98).

Women’s 200 Butterfly

A grueling double for Regan Smith worked out with a pair of titles. After impressing in the 200 back earlier in the session, Smith blew out the field in the 200 fly while beating the time she swam to win bronze at this year’s World Championships. Smith was ahead by 0.99 seconds after 50 meters and 1.60 seconds after 100 meters before winning by two-and-a-half seconds in 2:06.72. Smith set the American record in the event earlier this year with a stunning 2:03.87.

Swimming in second place for the entire race was Lindsay Looney, Smith’s training partner at Arizona State University and fellow World Championships finalist in the event this year. Looney clocked 2:09.31, with Dakota Luther a little under one second back in third place at 2:10.17.

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