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Regan Smith sets American record at Olympic swimming trials in 100 back

Regan Smith hasn’t qualified for her second Olympic Games yet, but she’s looking like a medal contender for Paris after breaking her own American record in the women’s 100-meter backstroke Monday night at the U.S. Olympic trials.

Smith comfortably won the second 100 back semifinal of the night at Lucas Oil Stadium with a 57.47 swim, knocking off her previous American record of 57.51 from May.

Starting off strong, the 22-year-old Stanford swimmer posted a 28.02 50-meter split, which was about one-tenth of a second ahead of world record pace. Smith finished with a solid second half, and until about the last five meters, it looked like she had a serious shot of breaking Australian swimmer Kaylee McKeown’s 57.33 world record.

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While trying again to reclaim the 100 back world record — which Smith set in 2019 — will have to wait at least another day, she's the clear frontrunner at U.S. trials in the event and the top seed entering Tuesday night’s top-8 final.

A three-time Olympic medalist, she won a bronze in the 100 back at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, along with two silvers in the 200-meter butterfly and the women’s 4x100-meter medley relay.

Smith finished third in the women’s 100-meter butterfly Sunday, just missing the top-2 qualifying spots.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US Olympic swimming trials: Stanford's Regan Smith sets record