Bold Strategy: Haas Blasts First 200, Takes Down 500 Free NCAA Record

by SwimSwam Staff 2

March 28th, 2019 Big 12, Big Ten, College, News, Pac-12, SEC


Behind an unfathomable 1:35.69 opening 200, Texas senior Townley Haas hung on over the final 200 yards, to narrowly clip former teammate Clark Smith‘s NCAA Record to win his third career 500 yard freestyle title in 4:08.19.  Haas wasted no time off the start, blitzing the field with a 46.38 opening 100, and then recording four more 50 splits between 24.9 and 25.1 to put himself nearly three seconds under Zane Grothe‘s American & U.S. Open record pace.  By the 300 mark, he had built nearly a four second lead on the field.

Haas faded hard over the final 200, coming home in just 50.92 over the final 100, but cleared Smith’s previous record of 4:08.42.  The swim also gave Texas a much-needed 20 points in the team race.

A comparison of some of history’s top splits:

Grothe, 2017 Winter Nationals Smith, 2017 NCAA’s Haas, 2018 NCAA’s Haas, 2019 NCAA’s
47.58 47.34 47.41 46.38
1:38.07 (50.50) 1:37.47 (50.13) 1:38.11 (50.70) 1:35.69 (49.31)
2:28.39 (50.31) 2:27.44 (49.97) 2:29.02 (50.91) 2:25.70 (50.01)
3:18.07 (49.68) 3:18.30 (50.86) 3:19.77 (50.75) 3:17.27 (51.57)
4:07.25 (49.18) 4:08.42 (50.12) 4:08.60 (48.83) 4:08.19 (50.92)

The clear difference was in Haas’ front-end speed over the other top swims in history, but Grothe legendary enduring and closing stroke rate were enough to keep the American and U.S. Open record.

Haas’ third title puts him in rare company as just the fifth swimmer to win at least three 500 freestyles at NCAA’s, and the first since Artur Wojdat won four in the early ’90s.

Notably, Sean Grieshop of California moved into the 15 performers in history with his 4:10.29 second place effort.


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1 year ago

Haas looks happy never seen his mouth so wide open like that

1 year ago

The man brave enough to ask, can everyone actually catch up if u try to sprint everything