2022 U.S. Trials Previews: #2 Seed Clark Eyes International Debut In 1500 Free

2022 U.S. INTERNATIONAL TEAM TRIALS

  • April 26-30, 2022
  • Greensboro, NC
  • Greensboro Aquatic Center
  • LCM (50m)
  • Meet Central

MEN’s 1500 FREESTYLE

  • World Record: 14:31.02 – Sun Yang (CHN) – 2012
  • American Record: 14:39.48 – Connor Jaeger (USA) – 2016
  • US Open Record: 14:45.54 – Peter Vanderkaay (USA) – 2008
  • 2019 World Champion: Florian Wellbrock (GER) – 14:36.54
  • FINA ‘A’ Standard: 15:04.64

Bobby Finke swam nearly 30 seconds slower than his best time in the 1500 freestyle in December of 2021 and he’s still the fastest man in the country this season. He delivered a 15:04.77 at the US Open, which is slower than his Olympic gold medal-winning time of 14:39.65 from Tokyo.

Finke blasted onto the international scene last year when he collected gold in both the 800 and 1500 freestyles at the Olympics. Finke, known for his impressive closing speed, ran down the field in the 1500 to become the second-fastest American man in history behind Connor Jaeger‘s 14:39.48 from Rio 2016.

As the overwhelming favorite to win the 1500 freestyle in Greensboro, the more interesting question is just how fast will he swim at Trials? Will he stay conservative and just put up the time he needs to win? Will he get down into the 14:40-low range? Can he blast a new PB and break the American record?

The real race in the 1500 free will be the race for second. The FINA A sits at a 15:04.64 for this summer and no man other than Finke has cracked that mark yet this season.

The nation’s second-fastest man so far this season and the one who’s closest to the FINA A (other than Finke) is Charlie Clark. Clark swam a 15:07.53 in December at the US Open and followed that up with a 15:06.92 in March 2022.

Clark finished 5th overall at Trials in 2021 with a 15:14.11 but unleashed a huge PB of 15:04.37 later than summer at Summer Championships. While that swim wouldn’t have been fast enough to get a spot on the team, it would have been 3rd at Trials and is under the current FINA A. Charlie Clark is certainly in the running for this team and if he can pop in Greensboro he’ll be looking at a spot on his first-ever major international squad.

Let’s look now at the NCAA. Bobby Finke won the 1650 free this year for Florida in a 14:22.28 and was joined on the podium by Will Gallant and Ross Dant. The NC State duo had a battle to the finish and touched 0.38 seconds apart with a 14:31.34 and 14:31.72, respectively.

Gallant holds a 1500 long course best time of 15:11.79, while Dant’s PB is a 15:22.06. Both of their swims at NCAAs, however, were new best times in the yards event so a time improvement might be in order for one or both of them this month in the long course.

A question mark on our radar is Olympic Trials finalist Arik Katz who was 4th at Trials, having posted a time of 15:11.34.

Arik Katz‘s best time in the event is a 15:05.93, which he swam back in 2019. A few months after he swam that time, he put up a 15:07.68 at World Juniors to place 5th overall. He hasn’t been back under 15:10 since 2019 though and his best performance since the pandemic was that swim at Trials.

Katz hit a new PB in the 1650 yards this year with a 14:54.67 but wound up in 25th place at NCAAs with a 15:03.93. He hasn’t raced long course this season but if is he shows up in Greensboro he should be a good bet to make the final.

David Johnston was a finalist at Olympic Trials last year and placed 7th overall in a 15:18.61, which isn’t fast enough to nab a spot on the team. His best time came a few weeks after Trials when he swam a 15:16.07.

This season, however, Johnston has seen improvements in his 1650 freestyle abilities. After hitting a 14:45.84 at Big 12s, he shaved 8 seconds off his former PB in the event with a 14:32.40 at American Short Course Championships. If he can translate that time improvement into the long course pool he could be looking at his first-ever sub-15:10 swim.

Rounding out the conversation is 18-year-old Alec Enyeart who is actually the third-fastest man in the country this season. He swam a 15:19.17 at the Wesmont Pro Swim Series, which was his first time under 15:20. It’ll take a bigger time-drop for him to fight for a spot on this team but the Texas commit will be one to watch moving forward.

TOP 8 PICKS

Place Swimmer Season-Best Lifetime Best
1 Bobby Finke 15:04.77 14:39.65
2 Charlie Clark 15:06.92 15:04.37
3 Will Gallant 15:26.60 15:11.79
4 David Johnston 15:16.07
5 Arik Katz 15:05.93
6 Alec Enyeart 15:19.17 15:19.17
7 Ross Dant 15:22.09
8 Bobby Dinunzio 15:30.94 15:30.94

Keep up to date with all of SwimSwam’s previews for the meet with our official preview index here.

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MCH
7 months ago

That’s a mighty thin field.

Tonya
7 months ago

Jordan is retired and brinegar isn’t swimming trials.

Anonymous
7 months ago

no dark horses?

DCSwim
7 months ago

Getting Clark on the team would be a huge boon for OSU. Getting two swimmers in the same discipline on an international team is nice, but to have two in two radically different areas in less than a year will be able to draw in a wider range of high caliber recruits.

Lil Swimmy
7 months ago

lemme get uhhhhhhhhh psych sheet

Admin
Reply to  Lil Swimmy
7 months ago

They said probably tomorrow.

Hswimmer
Reply to  Braden Keith
7 months ago

Boooooooo

Buck
7 months ago

What a great guy, very wholesome and caring

Connor Cunningham
7 months ago

He is going to go crazy. 14:55

Agua
7 months ago

Is Wilimovsky racing? Also, Alec Enyeart as darkhorse?

Jason
Reply to  Agua
7 months ago

Was just going to say that. Kid’s crazy.