Connor Jaeger Becomes 1st American Ever Under 14:40 In Men’s 1500


American Connor Jaeger broke his won American record tonight in the men’s 1500, clocking 14:39.48 to win the silver medal behind Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri.

The swim breaks his own record of 14:41.20, making him the first ever American under 14:40. In that swim, done last year in Kazan at the 2015 World Championships, Jaeger also finished runner-up to Paltrinieri, actually going faster than the Italian did last year tonight by two tenths of a second.

Jaeger cited the performances of the U.S. team this week as inspiration for him to perform at his best: “I’ve watched a lot of crazy swimming this week.. and  I told myself that crazier things have happened than me winning a medal in this race”.

He got pretty anxious, having to wait around seven days after the 400 free before he swam again, just wanting to get in there and help contribute to the medal count of the United States team.

“A pretty exciting way for me to end the meet. I got to wait around for seven days until I could race again and basically watched Team USA swim out of their minds.

“I got a little anxious on the bench so to be able to come back and add to that medal count really means a lot to me because that’s why I’m here.

“Because you want to hold up your end, it’s like being on the bench while your team is playing. It’s like, ‘coach put me in’. But you have got to wait seven days until he puts you in so you get a little anxious.”

“I knew that I had an opportunity to contribute to that and help it be a record-breaking Olympics. So if the two relays got it done then I had to do something. So to add to that is awesome.”

He also commented on Paltrinieri, and how much respect he has for the Italian.

“At a certain point, he just took off and I thought I could hang with him. But I couldn’t. And then you have to hope, ‘man, I hope he’s going fast because otherwise I’m really going pretty slow’.

“I have so much respect for that guy. He’s such a hard worker and really talented.”

This is Jaeger’s second Olympics, but it’s his first Olympic medal. Four years ago Jaeger surprised himself by making the team, and wound up making the final and finishing 6th in London.

He steadily progressed over the years in between Olympics, finishing 4th at the 2013 World Championships, 1st at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and then as previously mentioned silver last year before another silver here on the world’s biggest stage.

Along with the American record, Jaeger also broke Canada’s Ryan Cochrane‘s North American Continental record, which stood at 14:39.63 from the 2012 Olympics where Cochrane won silver.

This is the first medal for the U.S. in this event since 2004, as Larsen Jensen triumphed for silver in what was the American record until Jaeger broke it last year, 14:45.29.

After Jensen’s departure from the scene in 2008, American distance swimming began to struggle. They didn’t have any top contenders on the world stage. In 2012 Jaeger burst onto the scene and announced himself as a future player. He proved he was one of the best in the world last year, and this swim just confirms it.

Jaeger’s swim moves him past both Australian Mack Horton (14:39.54) and Cochrane into 5th fastest all-time. Take a look at the top-5 below:

  1. Sun Yang, CHN, 14:31.02, 2012
  2. Gregorio Paltrinieri, ITA, 14:34.04, 2015
  3. Grant Hackett, AUS, 14:34.56, 2001
  4. Oussama Mellouli, TUN, 14:37.28, 2009
  5. Connor Jaeger, USA, 14:39.48, 2016



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6 years ago

Missing an opportunity for a shoutout to Jordan Wilimovsky who just posted 2nd fastest American time (besting Larsen) and a top 10 all-time.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Bigsledog
6 years ago

Yes, a great PB for Jordon. Congratulations to him too!

6 years ago

Just saw article in Detroit press written right after the race tonight where Connor said he is retiring from swimming & moving to NY city to get a job. He said it was time for PeterPan to grow up!!! Great guy, goes out with the silver medal, best of luck as you start your new life!!

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  SUNY Cal
6 years ago
Brute Bradford
6 years ago

Stud. Very proud of him.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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