David Johnston Rattles American Record With 8:34.82 1000 Free, #3 All-Time

2023 Kevin B. Perry Senior Invitational

  • November 2-6, 2023
  • La Mirada, California
  • La Mirada Splash! Regional Aquatic Center
  • SCY (25 yards)
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2023  CA Kevin B Perry Senior Meet @ RMDA v1”

David Johnston dropped a blistering swim in the 1000-yard freestyle on Thursday during the opening session of the Kevin B. Perry Senior Invitational in La Mirada, Calif., coming within nine-tenths of the American Record.

Johnston fired off a time of 8:34.82 to mark the third-fastest swim in history, trailing Clark Smith‘s American Record of 8:33.93 set at the Texas Hall of Fame Invite in December 2015 and Bobby Finke‘s opening 1000 split of 8:34.63 in his record-breaking 1650 free from the 2020 SECs (14:12.08).

(Smith’s time was also done opening up a 1650 free, but he cruised to the finish just to make his opening 1000 split official.)

Both are products of the University of Texas, with Smith graduating in 2017 after winning three individual NCAA titles during his career, while Johnston is taking an Olympic redshirt season and plans to return to the Longhorns for his senior year in 2024-25.

The 22-year-old Johnston, who is currently training under Mark Schubert at The Swim Team (TST) in California, essentially even-split his swim, flipping in 4:17.01 at the 500 before closing in 4:17.81.

When Smith set the American and NCAA Record, he was more aggressive on the front half, out in 4:14.44.

Split Comparison

Smith, 2015 Johnston, 2023
48.25 49.22
1:38.99 (50.74) 1:41.09 (51.87)
2:30.55 (51.56) 2:33.14 (52.05)
3:22.35 (51.80) 3:25.03 (51.89)
4:14.44 (52.09) 4:17.01 (51.98)
5:06.69 (52.25) 5:08.32 (51.31)
5:59.04 (52.35) 6:00.08 (51.76)
6:51.04 (52.00) 6:51.92. (51.84)
7:42.86 (51.82) 7:43.81 (51.89)
8:33.93 (51.07) 8:34.82 (51.01)

Johnston previously ranked 5th all-time in the event at 8:41.61, a time he produced just over 11 months ago at the Minnesota Invite. He also went .01 slower, 8:41.62, this past January in Texas’ dual with NC State.

All-Time Performers, Men’s 1000 Freestyle (SCY)

  1. Clark Smith, 8:33.93 – 2015 Texas Hall of Fame Invite
  2. Bobby Finke, 8:34.63 – 2020 SEC Championships
  3. David Johnston, 8:34.82 – 2023 Kevin B. Perry Senior Invite
  4. Erik Vendt, 8:36.49 – 2008 Southern California Grand Prix
  5. Connor Jaeger, 8:41.09 – 2014 UofM PostGrad Quad Meet
  6. Michael McBroom, 8:42.25 – 2014 OK Elite Pro-Am

TST swimmers occupied the top four spots in the men’s 1000 free, with 29-year-old Marwan El Kamash (8:51.05) and 18-year-old Isaac Fleig (8:58.86) placing 2nd and 3rd.

Fleig, who is taking a gap year and deferring his enrollment to Arziona State to train with Schubert’s elite distance group, broke 9:00 for the first time and moves into 58th all-time in the boys’ 17-18 age group.


In the women’s 1000 free, Irvine Novaquatics’ Sammie Hamilton picked up the victory in a time of 9:54.46, knocking 11 seconds off her previous best time (10:05.45) set at this meet last year.

TST’s Sydney Wilson took 2nd in 10:00.66, with 14-year-old Chloe Teger of Orange Regional Competitive Aquatics (ORCA) was close behind in 10:01.84 to round out the podium.

Wilson, a 17-year-old Princeton commit, improved on her previous best time of 10:04.44, while Teger knocked more than 10 seconds off her old PB of 10:12.31.

Relay Winners

  • Rose Bowl Aquatics went 1-2 in the men’s 200 medley relay, with the quartet of Logan Noguchi (22.38), Alekos Binder (26.25), Ryan Makouar (21.70) and Michael Munder (21.20) combining to give the ‘B’ team the victory in 1:31.53. The ‘A’ squad was close behind in 1:31.71, with a notable 25.18 breast split from Gavin Santoso.
  • In the men’s 800 free relay, Rose Bowl stormed to victory in 6:48.18 thanks to a 1:37.93 lead-off from Nathan Kim, who owns a PB of 1:37.12 set in May. Mission Viejo placed 2nd in 6:48.73.
  • Results of the women’s relays were still pending on Meet Mobile at the time of publishing.

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Meet Mobile Fact Checker
8 months ago

Sammie Hamilton won the Women’s 1000 9:54

8 months ago

I could keep up with him for a 50, that’s it.

HOO love
8 months ago

According to tstbarracudas’ Instagram, Fleig is now verbally committed to ASU (not Wisconsin or Kentucky)

Steve Friederang
Reply to  HOO love
8 months ago

Yes. That’s true. I work with TST three times a week for stroke improvement and some tracking. The practices are a thing to behold. David lost count — Mark and I were timing in case of a record and the ladies were in another course at the same time so not enough people to lap count on the first day. David’s been sick so, although he shows days of amazing, we weren’t as sure as he was that he might do it. He’ll have plenty of other chances with two more years after the Olympics at Texas. We used underwater video and beginning to use concurrent Swimmunicators to improve all found strokes so watch David in the 400 I.M. and,… Read more »

Reply to  Steve Friederang
8 months ago

That said, we have another swimmer in California as of today who might give him a good race in distance free. Can’t tell you yet who that is, but you know him.

Must be Hafnaoui? Since word on the street is that he left IU

8 months ago

Finke vs. Hafnaoui in a 1000 would be must-see swimming. Feel like they’d both swim sub-8:30 with relative ease.

Andy Hardt
Reply to  NCSwimFan
8 months ago

I agree: it’s the rare case where you know the record is there for the taking. Both Hafnaoui and (especially) Finke have shown themselves to be strong short course swimmers as well as world-beaters long-course. Doesn’t take away from Smith’s (or Johnston’s) swim to say that two of the best distance swimmers we’ve ever seen could go even faster.

Reply to  Andy Hardt
8 months ago

I dont know why you say Finke is specially good in the short course when Hafnaoui has swam 14,10 for the 1500m before this summer

Reply to  NCSwimFan
8 months ago

Absolutely, Hanfaoui’s 14:10 SCM 1500 speaks for itself, and that was two years ago. And it’s wild that Finke’s 8:34 split was to the feet during a 1650.

Steve Friederang
Reply to  chickenlamp
8 months ago

Yeah, Finke is faster. Today. Let’s see what happens by June. Your point is well taken though — a guy who goes 14:30 long course in the 1500 can most certainly break the US record in the 1,000. If he had underwaters he’d really be a menace short course. I think when people go under 14 they will be underwater halfway to the 15 meter mark. And have gills :). The serious teams and swimmer I mentor with age groupers are doing a lot of timed over-unders, hip extensions, twenty minute ankle stretching, etc. etc.

8 months ago

I think Fleig recommitted to asu, no longer Wisconsin

Tim Teeter
Reply to  Klorn8d
8 months ago


8 months ago

Feels like Hafnaoui could absolutely smash this record

Reply to  Andrew
8 months ago

Agreed- like 8:28 or something wild

James Beam
8 months ago

Schubert is doing a great job. Those practices must be insane every day!

Mark Schubert
Reply to  James Beam
8 months ago

Thanks very much for the complement. but these swimmers would make ANYBODY look good. The practices are CRAZY FAST!😎😎

8 months ago

Slight correction Bobby finke was 8:34.63 at his 1000 split for his mile record. David is #3 all time

Steve Friederang
Reply to  PFA
8 months ago

A healthy David will be hard to beat. Schubert too is hard to beat. Listen to him at conventions and learn. He is NOT old school; he’s the right school. And he’s humble to bring me in for stroke coaching — not a know it all. But he knows more than most. Like how to get all these potential and present Olympians to get along with one another even while racing every day. Check out the team meeting example in CS Mag.

Reply to  Steve Friederang
8 months ago

Lot of commercials on these comments.

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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