Regan Smith

Streeter Lecka—Getty Images

When Regan Smith was only 10, U.S. swimming star Missy Franklin set a world record in the 200-m backstroke at the London Olympics. As the native Minnesotan began her competitive swimming career, her best times were a full 10 seconds off that mark, which seemed impossible to match, let alone beat. But at the World Championships this year—where at 17 she was the youngest member of Team USA—Smith dropped Franklin’s record by more than half a second. To top it off, at the same meet, she also smashed the 100-m backstroke record while swimming the leadoff stroke in a relay. The Olympics are her ultimate goal, and if she continues motoring through the water at that blistering pace, she’ll likely set more records at the Tokyo Games next summer. —Alice Park


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