Florida’s Kieran Smith to Swim 200 Back Instead of 100 Free at NCAAs this Year


Despite qualifying for the A final in the 100 free at last year’s NCAA Championships, Florida senior and Tokyo 2020 Olympic medalist Kieran Smith won’t be racing the event again this year. Smith has opted to race the 200 backstroke on Saturday instead. He’s the #8 seed in the event, and is seeded with the 1:39.51 he swam to win the event at SECs a few weeks ago. That swim also stands as a personal best for Smith.

At the 2021 NCAAs, Smith swam the 100 free at NCAAs, taking 6th in the A final with a 41.89 after swimming a 41.79 in prelims (his personal best time). Speaking strictly on the seeds, the decision to the 200 back was the right one, as Smith’s personal best in the 100 free would have had him seeded 11th.

Switching out the 100 free for the 200 back just further displays Smith’s versatility. He won the SEC title in the 400 IM this year, swimming a 3:39.33, which would have made him the #5 seed at NCAAs if he had decided to race it.

In addition to the 200 back, Smith will be racing the 500 free and 200 free at NCAAs this year.

Of course, Smith is also the NCAA Record holder in the 500 free with the 4:06.32 he swam at SECs last year. He went on to finish 2nd in the event at NCAAs, swimming a 4:08.07. Smith would also go on to win a Bronze medal in the 400 free, the most closely related LCM event to the 500, at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Smith won the 200 free at last year’s NCAAs, swimming a 1:30.10. He also broke the SEC record at NCAAs, leading the 800 free relay off in 1:29.48, which also makes him the #2 performer all-time in the 200 free. Smith is the #2 seed in the 200 free this year, behind only ASU’s Grant House.