Chatting with Regan Smith: World champion and world record holder Special

Posted Jan 16, 2021 by Markos Papadatos
World champion swimmer Regan Smith chatted with Digital Journal's Markos Papadatos at a virtual mixed zone following the 2021 TYR Pro Swim Series in San Antonio, Texas.
American swimmer Regan Smith
American swimmer Regan Smith
JD Lasica, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
"It feels really good to be back racing long course," she said. "We had that meet in Des Moines, Iowa, but it was super short. This is the first real long course meet that we've had in a really long time. It feels really great to be back racing."
Each day, she is motivated by her teammates in practice. "It has been really tough during quarantine to stay motivated but the fact that we are in this together makes me feel better," she said.
She holds three world records to her credit, in the women's 100 meter and 200 meter backstroke races, as well as the women's 4 x 100 meter medley relay. "My performance at the World Championships was really special to me. I think it set me up from being a young, age-group swimmer to making my way into the adult swimming world. It allowed me to make the transition from a kid to an adult in the sport, which was important to me, just maturity-wise," she said.
Smith listed the butterfly as her personal favorite stroke in swimming. "I like the butterfly, so that's my favorite, but I also like the backstroke too," she said.
Speaking of the butterfly and the backstroke, she finished in first place in both events on January 16. "It felt great. I'm not sure if I've ever been able to do that in one night at the Pro Swim Series before, so that means a lot to me. All of my hard work has paid off. It is exciting and it feels good," she said.
She listed Natalie Coughlin and Missy Franklin as influences of hers growing up. "I remember watching Missy at the London Olympics and I just looked up to her so much. They were both very important people in my life, growing up, swimming-wise," she said.
Smith added that breaking Missy Franklin's world record in the 200 meter backstroke last summer was extra special for her. "That was very special. Getting a 'congratulations' from her personally meant a lot too, so that was great," she said.
Her coach, Mike Parratto, was named "Coach of the Year" at the 2019 Golden Goggle Awards. "That was awesome. I was so happy for him. He has been in this sport for such a long time. He has coached some big names and it is cool that I am under that same list of names now. It is really special for both of us," she said.
For young and aspiring swimmers, she encouraged them to "stick with it." "Swimming is tough but it's extremely worth it," she said. "Definitely stick with it even when it gets tough. Quarantine was a good example. Stick with it no matter what."
Regarding the title of the current chapter of her life, she responded, "Somebody about not having to do school right now, and just focusing on training. It's nice to have a break from school, I would say. That's what I am excited about."
On her definition of the word success, she responded, "Above all, enjoying what you are doing." "If you are 'successful' by society's standards but you are really not having a good time then I don't think that's true success. Just enjoy what you are doing and have fun with it," she said.
For her dedicated fans and supporters, she said, "Thank you so much. It means the world. I read comments and I read DMs and it just warms my heart, it really helps especially when I am going through hard times in training. Thank you."
To learn more about American swimmer Regan Smith, follow her on Instagram.