Olympic medalist Regan Smith wears USA swim cap with pride ahead of Paris: 'I'm so proud to be American'

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U.S. swimmer Regan Smith is an Olympic medalist, a world record holder, a world champion and even an adoring cat owner. But the 22-year-old former Stanford swimmer might best describe herself as a proud American. 

Smith qualified for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris after her dominating performance in the women’s 100-meter and 200-meter backstroke and the 200-meter fly at the recent U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials in Indianapolis. She set the world record in the 100-meter. 

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Regan Smith looks on after the women’s 100-meter backstroke semifinal at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Team Trials at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on June 17, 2024. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

She described it as a “gratifying” experience, one that has again given her the chance to wear a swim cap with the American flag alongside her name.


Ahead of her second appearance in the Summer Olympics, Smith told Fox News Digital that she first got the opportunity to represent the U.S. when she was 15. 

“It almost moved me to tears,” she said.

“I had such a strong sense of pride, and I was getting up behind the blocks, and I wasn’t just swimming for me, I was swimming for the entire country behind me, who had my back and who wanted me to succeed.”

In Smith’s retelling of this moment, she didn’t make mention of medals or records, just the pride she felt. 

“It was just incredible to swim for something that was so much bigger than yourself. And I think that helped take some of the pressure off of me as well, because I was like, ‘I just want to do this to make my country proud.’ It’s just as simple as that.”

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Regan Smith prepares to compete in the women’s 100-meter backstroke semifinal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 26, 2021. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)


Smith took her talents to the Olympics for the first time at the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo. She won silver in the 200-meter butterfly and bronze in the 100-meter backstroke. She’ll have the chance to earn her first gold medal when she competes in three individual events next month in Paris.

But for Smith, doing so would mean so much more than personal achievement. 

“I am such a patriotic girl. I love America so much. I am such an American girl to my core, seriously,” she told Fox News digital with a smile.

“It never gets old, truly. Each summer when I’ve gotten to put the American flag cap on my head and represent it, I am so unbelievably proud. And every time I’m able to stand on top of a podium and put my hand on my heart and hear the national anthem play over the entire aquatic center, it’s very special. It never gets old. I would say it kind of gains importance and value each time that it happens for me. And so this summer is going to be no different. I’m just going to be so unbelievably excited to put that cap on and go overseas and represent the best country in the history of the world, I’d say. And it’s just – it’s wonderful. It’s really, really wonderful. And I’m so proud to be American every time that I compete for my country.”

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Regan Smith competes in the women’s 200-meter butterfly during the Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 27, 2021. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)


Speaking to Fox News Digital on behalf of her partnership with pet nutrition brand Nulo, Smith spoke about her support system back home, which includes her adopted cat, Roo. 

Smith adopted Roo from an animal shelter in Arizona during a difficult time this year. She had fallen ill just months before the Olympic trials and was forced to stop training. Her family and sports psychologist suggested that an emotional support animal might be a good solution. 

“She is the absolute sweetest thing, and she got me out of that rough patch, and she was such an incredible support system. And so when I was still kind of on the come-up recovering from my sickness, and I would come home from practice just in tears because I just wanted to be back [to] the level that I was at training-wise, she would greet me at the door.”

Nulo has partnered with eight athletes, including fellow Olympians Simone Biles and Caeleb Dressel, as a part of the Fuel Incredible campaign aimed at highlighting the connection between athletes and their pets on their journey to the top.

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