Bobby Finke Swims His First Race Since Record-Setting Mile in February

SPA vs. TBAC Dual Meet

  • July 18, 2020
  • LCM (50m) pool
  • North Shore pool, St. Petersburg, Florida
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “SPA – TBAC Dual Meet July 18, 2020”

US National Team swimmer Bobby Finke, representing St. Petersburg Aquatics, competed in his first meet since February’s SEC Championship meet on Saturday. He posted three individual wins in the team’s long course dual meet against the Tampa Bay Aquatic Club.

St. Petersburg Aquatics won the meet, but the focus of the day was not scoring. Rather, for most of the swimmers in the pool, it was their first official racing opportunity in at least 4 months.

Among Finke’s swims on the day was a 15:12.43 in the 1500 free. His only other swim of that event this season was a 15:05.55 at the mid-season U.S. Open in the midst of his sophomore season at the University of Florida.

While the global ongoing coronavirus pandemic wound up cancelling the NCAA Championship meet, Finke still had one of the highlights of the entire season at SECs: his 14:12.08 in the 1650 yard free broke the NCAA Record by over 10 seconds, becoming the fastest swimmer in the history of that event.

That came in the season after a wrist injury kept him out of the World University Games.

His best time in the 1500 is a 14:48.70 done at the 2018 Pan Pac Championships; in the summer of 2019, he swam 14:51.15.

Finke’s other two swims on Saturday were a 2:00.49 in the 200 back and a 1:09.26 in the 100 breast.

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Frederick J Lewis
2 years ago

This was a workout meet. TBAC and SPA started practice at 6:00am. Took a 10 minute break to put on OLD Fastskins and got up on the block at 7:11am to sprint. Bobby Finke started his 1500 free at 8:45am. The meet was done by 9:02am and then we did 30 minutes of practice warm down. Total meters for the day was a little under 8,000. The meet had a total of 94 swimmers and our main goal was to get the swimmers to socially distance in a competitive situation.

2 years ago

Interesting theory I have. Upon reading multiple articles over the past week or so, there appears to be some incredibly fast swims. One might go ahead and say that swimmers all around are better off having taken time off during the pandemic. Might be me going crazy idk. But I wonder if these are outliers or if we will see a trend of best times when everyone gets back into things

Jonathan Charbroiled Steak
Reply to  Buddy
2 years ago

I think it’s a mixture of the break and rest and swimmers being so excited to swim.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Jonathan Charbroiled Steak
2 years ago

It’s interesting that when Olympians take their break after the Olympics, they usually suck (comparatively) when they come back to competition, often for the full year or more (in Schooling’s case, for example, forever). So I’m betting the excitement of getting back to competition might be playing a bigger role than the physical recovery.

Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
2 years ago

Often times after the Olympics, swimmers don’t just take a break from the pool but from working out completely. From all that I have seen and read, many swimmers who want to make the Olympics next year stayed fit during their break.

Reply to  Buddy
2 years ago

Great Q, I’ve been wondering the same thing because I’m seeing many of the older age groupers swimming way faster than before after having a few weeks back in the pool. Wondering if it’s adrenaline, recovery from minor chronic injuries, commitment to dry land and cross training during quarantine, the growth of their bodies, or what? I don’t have the answer but I think many swimmers are inexplicably ending up faster after the quarantine than if they had just kept grinding out the yards as usual over the past few months.

Reply to  Buddy
2 years ago

We’ve all been back in the pool since the first week of May here in FL and I know Finke had continued his training during the shutdown with Open Water swims and backyard pools (which can be quite large – mine is 15m, neighbor is 25 yds).

Reply to  Buddy
2 years ago

As a coach of swimmers 6-22 years old, I am willing to say this break helped every swimmer I coach. We worked on a lot of mobility, and the improvements that I am seeing are drastic. I have found myself wondering how I could sell a 3 month break to the parents and swimmers going forward. No one would like it, however I think it would be for the better!

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

the US has extremely short breaks, unlike the rest of the World, where they take 3-4 months often after the Olympics or World Championships. I still remember not recognizing some swimmers returning to the pool, they gained so much weight. But it seems to be getting shorter in Europe too

Reply to  Braden Keith
2 years ago

I am leaning towards the longer break, however I am unsure if that is the best option. These kids are so motivated and driven coming out of this break, we dont need to train (or ever really needed to train) 11 months out of the year. Especially if this level of motivation/focus keeps up.

I think baseball pitching coaches have it figured out with their rest cycles, which would need to be adapted to fit swimming better due the aerobic levels of fitness needed for our sport. Swimming is more of a skill sport, rather than pure fitness. Both play a huge role, but no one goes fast without good technique.

Our team did a TON of work on shoulder… Read more »

Ian Finnerty
Reply to  Buddy
2 years ago

Breaks were always good for everyone, and physical and mental recovery is extremely important. This is just finally showing it. Will be interesting to see if this changes the philosophy and dynamics of coaching knowing this.

Reply to  Buddy
2 years ago

There’s got to be something said about swimmers (probably a large chunk of them) spending a lot of time learning to be land athletes the last few months, too.

2 years ago

Not trying to nitpick, but just noticed that the caption says 15:15 but the text says he went 15:12. Also, the 200 back and 100 breast appear to be best times for him, so congratulations on that!

Club Coach
Reply to  swimfan210_
2 years ago

It was 15:12.43. Also I believe his time in the 200 Back would have been an Olympic trial cut under the 2020 time standards.

OG Prodigy
2 years ago

15:15….amongst everything…heck of a swim…cheers Robert!

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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