Clark Smith Video Interview: From non-qualifier to NCAA Champ

Video produced by Coleman Hodges.

Reported by Jared Anderson. 


  • NCAA – 4:08.60 – Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan – 2006
  • Championship – 4:08.60 – Peter Vanderkaay, Michigan – 2006
  • American – 4:08.54 – Peter Vanderkaay – 2006
  • US Open – 4:08.54 – Peter Vanderkaay – 2006
  • 2014 Champion – Cristian Quintero, USC – 4:10.02

The 500 free was a roller coaster of a ride. Defending champ Cristian Quintero of USC went out fast, leading the field at the 100 in 47.21 from an outside lane. Top-seeded Clark Smith of Texas took the lead back to the middle of the pool by the 200, though, splitting 1:38.02.

As the race wore on, though, Florida’s Dan Wallace started building momentum eventually taking over and looking like he’d cruise to the win.

But Smith struck back over the final 50 yards, picking up his tempo to overcome Wallace and land the Longhorns their second-straight event title. Smith’s final 100 was a 49.61, including a blistering 24.03 over the final 50 yards. The sophomore would go 4:09.72 for the win, the first Texas NCAA champ in the event in history.

Wallace settled for second, touching in 4:10.48.

USC’s sophomore Reed Malone swam a patient race, watching Quintero go out fast on one side of him, then watching Wallace surge on the other side, but ultimately kept the blinders on and touched third overall in 4:11.94.

Michigan’s Anders Nielsen had a big drop from his 8th-place prelims performance, going 4:12.16 for fourth. The defending champ Quintero dropped off after his big first 100, taking 5th in 4:13.21.

Florida’s other finalist was Mitch D’Arrigo, who went 4:14.30 for 6th.

Things dropped off somewhat from there. Texas’s big prelims surprise Sam Lewis faded to 4:16.75, and his teammate Jon Roberts was just 4:16.89 to round out the A heat.

The consolation final went to Georgia’s Matias Koski in 4:11.83, a big statement swim from a guy who was no doubt disappointed to miss the A final this morning.

That was a big event for Texas in the team race, as the Longhorns now lead with 83. USC is second at 58 and Florida sits third in 45. Michigan is fourth (39) and Cal dropped all the way to 5th with just the 34 from their medley relay (the Bears had no scorers here).

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Adam G
9 years ago

You know who did call him winning? His lanemates. Some sprinters at UT were wary of the hype, but the D guys knew his potential

9 years ago

Shots fired at the comment section!!! 🙂

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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