David Johnston Puts Up 7:30.41 SCM 800 Free American Record (RACE VIDEO)


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American collegiate swimmer David Johnston posted a new personal best to win the men’s 800 free on Wednesday in Australia. The 20-year-old put up a monster 7:30.41 that broke the American Record in the event.

Johnston, a rising junior at the University of Texas, entered this meet with a seed time of 7:54.40 – which is actually his long course time. This week’s Australian SC Championships are his first short course meters meet ever as one of a handful of Americans who hung around after last week’s Duel in the Pool.

The previous record was officially held by Michael McBroom with a 7:33.99 from the 2013 Duel in the Pool. The fastest American record was Chad La Tourette with a time of 7:33.94 that he registered at the 2009 Duel in the Pool in Great Britain. That swim was one of a handful that occurred after USA Swimming outlawed the polyurethane suits, but before FIAN did, so La Tourette’s swim does count by FINA’s definition, but USA Swimming refused to recognize it as an American Record.

Splits for Johnston’s record-setting swim are below, with the next-closest swimmer in tonight’s race, Aussie Mack Horton hitting 7:39.71 for silver while another Aussie, Alex Grant, posted 7:40.18 for bronze.

Johnston rocketed up the all-time world performers list with his massive outing in Sydney, now checking in as the 7th fastest man ever in this SCM 800 free.

Top 10 Men’s All-Time SCM 800 Free Performers

  1. Grant Hackett (AUS) – 7:23.42, 2008
  2. Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR) – 7:25.73, 2020
  3. Henrik Christiansen (NOR) – 7:25.78, 2020
  4. Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) – 7:27.94, 2021
  5. Florian Wellbrock (GER) – 7:27.99, 2021
  6. Yannick Agnel (FRA) – 7:29.17, 2012
  7. David Johnston (USA) – 7:30.41, 2022
  8. David Aubrey (FRA) – 7:31.60, 2019
  9. Felix Auboeck (AUT) – 7:31.89, 2020
  10. Alexander Norgaard (DEN) – 7:32.77, 2020

Splits Comparisons of AR/American Bests:

Johnston La Tourette McBroom
New AR Old Fastest American Old AR
100m 53.38 55.31 56.17
200m 56.05 57 58.07
300m 56.76 57.17 57.37
400m 57.19 57.27 57.29
500m 57.03 57.67 56.97
600m 57.16 57.32 57.13
700m 57.07 56.81 56.27
800m 55.77 55.39 54.72
Final Time 7:30.41 7:33.94 7:33.99

Johnson already made waves this year as an NCAA student-athlete, placing 5th in the 1650 yard free, 6th in the 500 yard free and 7th in the 400 yard IM at the 2022 NCAA Championships while racing for the University of Texas.

At this year’s U.S. Long Course Nationals in July, Johnston placed 2nd in the 1500m free (15:02.37), 4th in the 400m IM (4:15.36), 5th in the 400m free (3:49.69) and 3rd in the 800m free (7:54.60).

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Time to duel
5 months ago

Shock the world

5 months ago

Completely off topic but seeing Norgaard’s name on the top 10 reminded me: if NC State had Ponti and Norgaard they would be a title contender this year. On paper Texas, Cal and Florida will all be significantly weaker than they were last season, and if the Wolfpack had two more high end pieces like that they’d be in a great position to win it all. If only they could get their hands on an elite breaststroker

Reply to  Swammer
5 months ago

Florida won’t be significantly weaker. They graduated Smith and Finke, but they bring in Mitchell and Liendo. They might score less points, but it won’t be “significantly” less.

5 months ago

Knew him when he swam for FASST as a kid with his sister. His mom was always in the stands with a stop watch and clipboard.

Nathan Smith
5 months ago

Between David Popovici’s 200 Free at Worlds and Johnston’s turns at the start end in this race, I’m starting to wonder if those obsessed with not breathing into the wall, or even not double breathing into the wall, are barking up the wrong tree.

Reply to  Nathan Smith
5 months ago

Bobby Finke tends to breathe into the walls, Sun Yang did too. Make sense that it’s not too detrimental for distance races

Reply to  chickenlamp
5 months ago

Sandpipers also double breathe or breathe into walls.

Sunday Morning Grind
Reply to  Nathan Smith
5 months ago

Wellbrock breaths into and out of his walls both SCM and LCM as well. Pausing breathing so long has to change an athletes cardiovascular rhythm at some point. Probably should come down to a pros and cons list for each athlete. Same as each athlete should be evaluating their breathing patterns in every other distance.

Reply to  Sunday Morning Grind
5 months ago

Looking back on ’90s & even ’00s training, I don’t think a single coach I had understood breathing.

Reply to  Nathan Smith
5 months ago

Good agreement.. As long as you have a good press off the wall, a good streamline, a good dolphin kick , and strong breakout. You can breath in and out your wall in distance swimming..

5 months ago

When swimmers are compared to themselves and have disproportionate success across the 3 pool lengths, sometimes I wonder if it comes down to individual heights and/or distance per stroke. When you get to such an elite level that races are planned with specific kicks off each wall and the number of strokes between breakouts and the next wall, maybe some people can more regularly nail their turns and finish timing in meters but are uneven in yards – or vice versa.

Congrats to David!

Pavid Dopovici
5 months ago

OUT OF TOPIC: Peaty broke up with his girlfriend on ig and said « Sorry for letting you and George down » what the heck is happening ??

Reply to  Pavid Dopovici
5 months ago

Just read it, certainly sounds like he cheated. SMH.

Last edited 5 months ago by CuriousGeorge
Reply to  CuriousGeorge
5 months ago

Too much breaststroking? 🙂

Reply to  torchbearer
5 months ago

Nicely played!

Go Kamminga Go
Reply to  torchbearer
5 months ago


5 months ago

NCAA should really start offering the 1000 at D1 Nats

Reply to  DCSwim
5 months ago

It would boost the recruitment of non-sprinters, even if you can argue the 500yd free is closer to success in 200m free than a 400m for some. Imagine a 400IM/500yd/1000yd/1650 star having the same(minus relays) impact as a 50/100 free+100 stroke guy. It’s a thought, it could be finals only

Stranded on a Sandbar
Reply to  Ragnar
5 months ago

Agree with Ragnar. Right now college swimming and the training programs at the vast majority of schools do not focus on true distance. Coaches call it distance training but in reality, they train for 200s of stroke and the 500. But who can blame them when they are paid to win (bonuses) and all the points are in the relays. . .Adding the 1000 would bring back some balance into the equation.

5 months ago

Texas has had a heck of a summer.

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Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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