Townley Haas was born on December 13, 1996. He attended Benedictine High School in Richmond, Virginia before attending the University of Texas.
University of Texas
Townley Haas definitely proved his worth as a freshman, winning the 500 freestyle at the 2016 Men’s NCAA Swimming Championships. While his 4:09.00 did not set any records, he was almost a full second ahead of second place finisher, Florida’s Mitch D’Arrigo. He did set an NCAA, American, Championship and Pool Record in the 200 Freestyle. His time of 1:30.46 bested the records by .8 seconds, and was well ahead of second place finisher (1:31.54) Matias Koski of Georgia. Haas also placed 4th in the 1650 freestyle, proving he could swim distance and middle distance at the National level.
At his second NCAA Championships, Haas picked up a pair of golds and a pair of silvers. He defended his 200 yard freestyle title in 1:30.65. He had established the lead at the halfway point and didn’t let it go, finishing half a second ahead of silver medallists Dylan Carter and Blake Pieroni. Haas’ second gold came in the final race of the meet in the 400 yard freestyle relay. He teamed up with Brett Ringgold, Jack Conger and Joseph Schooling to set a new American and NCAA record in 2:45.39.
In the 500 yard freestyle, Haas wasn’t able to defend his title and had to settle for a silver behind his teammate Clark Smith. He managed to get to the wall 0.03 ahead of bronze medallist Felix Auboeck, the Michigan freshman in 4:08.92.
In the 800 yard freestyle relay, Haas helped Texas to the silver medal along with Smith, Conger and Jeff Newkirk. Haas also swam the 100 yard freestyle, winning the consolation final in 41.96.
2016 U.S. Olympic Trials
Haas qualified for his first Olympic Games after a stunning performance in the 200 meter freestyle. Going into the meet, Haas was seeded 7th in a tough field. At the halfway point he was third behind Conor Dwyer and Ryan Lochte. As the race moved on his endurance showed as he crept up on the leaders. The race all came down to the touch and Haas was the first to the wall by one hundredth of a second. He described the race as the best of his life.
Earlier in the meet, Haas just missed out on a spot in the 400 meter freestyle with a 3rd place finish.
2016 Rio Olympics
Haas won his first Olympic gold medal as a member of Team USA’s 800 meter freestyle relay. He teamed up with Conor Dwyer, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps to win in 7:00.66. His split of 1:44.14 was the fastest of all swimmers, 7 hundredths of a second faster than the next fastest time, James Guy’s of Great Britain, which was 1:44.85.
In his individual event, Haas finished 5th in the 200 meter freestyle in 1:45.58.