Bobby Finke Resets 800 Freestyle American Record With 7:39.36 To Win Gold


Bobby Finke used his signature closing strategy to pull off an 800 freestyle victory and American record, hitting a 7:39.36 to undercut his former AR of 7:41.87 from the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Finke was in the mix for the entire race, moving around the top 5, but on the final 50, he managed to overtake the leading trio of Florian Wellbrock, Mykhailo Romanchuk, and Gregorio Paltrinieri. Finke closed this race with a 25.93 split on his final 50, while those other 3 men split a 26.82, 27.73, and 28.10, respectively. Finke out-touched German Florian Wellbrock by just 0.27 seconds. Wellbrock’s silver medal-winning time was a 7:39.63, followed by Romanchuk of Ukraine who swam a 7:40.05 for bronze.

Finke is now the first American to crack 7:40 in this event and the 7th man in history to do so. This makes Finke the 7th-fastest man in history, slightly trailing Gregorio Paltrinieri who hit a 7:39.27 to win the World Championships title in 2019.

Wellbrock’s swim of 7:39.63 to win the silver medal makes him the #8 performer behind Finke.

All-time 800 Freestyle Performances

  1. Zhang Lin (CHN) – 7:32.12 (2009)
  2. Ous Mellouli (TUN) – 7:35.27 (2009)
  3. Sun Yang (CHN) – 7:38.57 (2011)
  4. Grant Hackett (AUS) – 7:38.65 (2005)
  5. Ian Thorpe (AUS) – 7:39.16 (2001)
  6. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) – 7:39.27 (2019)
  7. Bobby Finke (USA) – 7:39.36 (2022)
  8. Florian Wellbrock (GER) – 7:39.63 (2022)
  9. Sun Yang (CHN) – 7:39.96 (2015)

Despite the fact that he wasn’t leading throughout the first 750 meters of the race, he was under his own American record pace from the very beginning. Finke closed with a 25.93 compared to the 25.93 that he ended with in Tokyo.

100m 55.72 56.42
200m 1:53.88 1:54.97
300m 2:52.25 2:53.52
400m 3:50.52 3:51.97
500m 4:48.93 4:50.63
600m 5:47.17 5:48.96
700m 6:45.06 6:46.89
800m 7:39.36 7:41.87

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Former Big10
1 year ago

Really helped that he was next to Paltrinieri, who likes to be out fast.

1 year ago

Wow the mens 800 is slow, Hackett was faster in 2005. Must help when the whole field is so weak

Reply to  Swimmertriguy
1 year ago

What’s your time in it, my man?

eye guy
Reply to  Swimmertriguy
1 year ago

In 10 years, I guess we can say the women’s 800 Free is a slow field because Ledecky went faster in 2016, right? (Because we know no one is getting to 8:04 in the next decade)

Hackett’s swim was similar. You must have forgotten how dominant he was. Some consider him the best male distance swimmer of all time.

Last edited 1 year ago by eye guy
Reply to  eye guy
1 year ago

And rightfully so! These knee jerk reactions are pretty funny – but you see them in every sport comment section.

Stan Crump
Reply to  Swimmertriguy
1 year ago

Ummmm… You’re thinking of Grant Hackett. Different country. Hence Bobby Hackett’s american record.

Reply to  Stan Crump
1 year ago

Yeah I know it’s grant Hackett, I’m just a Aussie poking the bear and missing our long distance dominance, fun on the odd occasion. Good swim by finke 👍

1 year ago

It’ll be interesting to see if the other guys change strategy in the 1500 at all to try to counter that last 50. Press the pace really hard and hope to drop Finke? Save up for your own last charge?

1 year ago

Bobby for the president!

1 year ago

I can’t imagine the mental advantage Finke has over his competitors now that he’s done this multiple times. Getting run down is so demoralizing especially when you have what seems like a safe lead. With Finke on your tale, you’re never safe. He must live rent free in their heads.

1 year ago

I thought both Wellbrock and Romanchuk would beat him this time, that he was not going to be able to follow them or if he would, that would have nothing left in the tank to sprint. He proved me wrong again, amazing. The 1500 will be fun, the trio of Wellbrock, Paltrinieri and Romanchuk will have to push even harder, even with the risk of burning themselves out.

Reply to  Maxhardie
1 year ago

It’s hard not to be a Finke fan. He is so inspiring. He is the real deal!

1 year ago

A full transcript of the unforgettable NBC commentary of the last lap of this race

Knapp: “Now as they get ready for what should be a wild 50. Finke on the charge now, but the other heavy hitters ready ready to roll to”

Gaines: “Here he comes! Here he coMeS! HERE HE COmes!! *voice crack*”

Knapp: “Finke looking for another come from behind! Swim here into the lead, the American, can it do it again? Like Tokyo”

Gaines: “YESSSS!!!!!” *unintelligible monkey noises ensue*

Knapp: “Bobby Finke! Hitting the gas to another gold”

You… just can’t make this up

Reply to  IM FAN
1 year ago

*unintelligible monkey noises* got me laughing

1 year ago

The world is slowly inching closer first time in a few years that anyone’s broken 7:40. But that was awesome to watch.