Notebook: Smith breaks junior world swimming record

Lakeville’s Regan Smith didn’t come back from the world swimming championships with a medal, but did return with a junior world record.

Regan Smith, a Lakeville resident and member of the Riptide Swim Club in Apple Valley, finished eighth in the women’s 200-meter backstroke at the FINA World Championships. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Smith, at 15 the youngest U.S. swimmer to compete in the FINA World Championships in 10 years, reached the finals in the 200-meter backstroke and finished eighth Saturday in 2 minutes, 7.42 seconds. She went into the meet ranked eighth in the world in the 200 backstroke.

In the semifinals one day earlier, Smith swam 2:07.19 to finish second in her heat. That’s the fastest time by a swimmer younger than 18 since FINA began tracking junior world records in 2013, according to swimming news website swimswam.com.

The previous junior world record of 2:07.29 was set by Daria Ustinova of Russia in 2015; Ustinova finished seventh in the 200 backstroke finals at the 2017 world championships in Budapest, Hungary.

According to swimswam.com, the fastest 200 backstroke time ever by a junior is the world record of 2:04.06 set by U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin in 2012 when she was 17. That was one year before FINA started recognizing junior world records.

Emily Seebohm of Australia, an Olympic gold medalist in two relays, won the 200 backstroke in the world meet in 2:05.68. Katinka Hosszu of Hungary, who won three gold medals in the 2016 Olympics and a silver in the 200 backstroke, finished second to Seebohm in 2:05.85.

Smith, Ustinova and Hosszu swam in the same semifinal heat July 27, with Ustinova winning, Smith taking second and Hosszu placing fourth.

Smith qualified for the world championships for the first time by taking second in the 200 backstroke at the U.S. championships in Indianapolis in June. She will return to Indianapolis later this month for the world junior championships. Until then, the Riptide Swim Club team member is training twice a day and taking driver’s education. She will start her sophomore year at Lakeville North High School in September.

The U gets two from Eagan

Eagan High School athletes Megan Plaschko and Ellie Husemann won’t start their junior years of high school until next month, but both already have decided where they want to go to college.

Plaschko, the goalie for Eagan’s 2015 state Class AA champion girls soccer team, has verbally committed to the University of Minnesota. Also going to the Gophers is Husemann, a middle blocker for Eagan teams that won the state Class 3A volleyball championship the last two seasons.

Student-athletes cannot sign a National Letter of Intent – which makes a college commitment official – until they are seniors. Husemann can sign as early as November 2018 and Plaschko can sign as early as February 2019.

Volleyball, basketball showcases

Lakeville North, Farmington, Eastview and Rosemount will play in the Minnesota Elite Preseason Volleyball Invitational on Saturday at Midwest Volleyball Warehouse in Burnsville.

Thirty-two teams will compete Saturday, including 2016 state high school Class 3A runner-up Champlin Park and defending Class 2A champion Maple Lake. Pool play will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with playoff rounds from 3 to 7 p.m. The championship match will be at 6 p.m.

Lakeville North is in a pool with North Branch, Hill-Murray and Fillmore Central. Farmington has Champlin Park, Roseville and Andover in its pool. Eastview will compete with Blaine, Minnetonka and Belle Plaine. Rosemount is in a pool with North St. Paul, Totino-Grace and Maple Grove.

A separate tournament in the Minnesota Elite Preseason Volleyball Invitational will be held Sunday at Midwest Volleyball Warehouse, with games played from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Teams and brackets for the Sunday tournament had not been announced at presstime.

Apple Valley’s boys will return to the Pacesetter Sweet Sixteen basketball tournament Saturday and Sunday at the College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph. The tournament invites four teams expected to be highly ranked in each of Minnesota’s four high school basketball enrollment classes.

Apple Valley, the defending Class 4A boys champion, plays Waconia in the first round of the Sweet Sixteen at 10 a.m. Saturday. There will be four rounds of games over two days, with the boys final at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Also in the boys field are Cretin-Derham Hall, which Apple Valley defeated in the 2017 Class 4A quarterfinals, Class 4A power Hopkins and 2017 Class 3A runner-up Austin.

No teams from the Sun Thisweek and Dakota County Tribune coverage area are playing in the Sweet Sixteen girls tourney, where the field includes 2017 Class 4A girls runner-up Hopkins. The girls final is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. Sunday.

High school coaches cannot be with their teams during these tournaments because they take place outside the Minnesota State High School League summer waiver period, which ended July 31. Teams typically are coached by volunteers from their communities.