Eddie Reese Breaks Down 800 Free Relay (Video)

Edited by Coleman Hodges.

Reported by Tony Carroll.

After the Longhorns banded together for a new NCAA and U.S. Open Record in the 800 free relay, Texas coach Eddie Reese took a stroll to the media room to break down the epic race.

In the video, Reese says he planned on loading the front-half of the relay with Jack Conger and Townley Haas because, “no team could stay them.” He gives credit to Joseph’s Schooling’s impassibility as the anchor and he discusses Clark Smith‘s eager race strategy. But even Reese says he knew Townley would be their fastest split, he just didn’t know the freshman would clock a ludicrous 1:30.52 split.

When Eddie Reese says 1:34 200’s are starting to look slow, Men’s NCAA swimming is moving in a crazy fast direction.


Over the past two seasons, we have seen both US Open and American records fall in the 800 freestyle relay on the men’s and women’s side at the conference level, but not at the NCAA Championships. This year, however, the new NCAA championship format gave us an opportunity us to witness the top teams in the country throw down their best 800 freestyle relay, fully shaved and tapered.

The last major record to fall on the men’s side was the US Open record in 2014. The team of Anders NielsenMichael WynaldaJustin Glanda, and Connor Jaeger started off the 2014 Big Ten Championships with the first sub 6:10 800 freestyle relay in history. Wynalda was the difference maker in that relay, splitting 1:30.60 on the second leg of the race. They were faster than the American record that was set in 2009 by the Texas Longhorns at 6:10.16, but the Michigan foursome did not all represent the United States internationally. That old Texas-held American Record still stands, in fact, because each of the top three relays had at least one international swimmer on it.

This year, the top three teams managed to finish under Michigan’s US Open record time, but the Texas Longhorns were out of this world with a 6:08.03! Jack Conger led of with ninth fastest 200 freestyle in history and then handed the race off to Townley Haas who posted the fastest split in history. Haas, a freshman, bettered Wynalda’s 2014 split of 1:30.60 with his time of 1:30.52. Clark Smith and Joseph Schooling were able to close the relay in 1:33.28 and 1:32.34, respectively.

Comparative splits:

  • University of Michigan, 2014: 6:09.85
    • Nielsen – 1:33.52
    • Wynalda – 1:30.60 (Previous fastest split in history)
    • Glanda – 1:33.26
    • Jaeger – 1:32.47
  • University of Texas, 2016: 6:08.03

NC State and Florida also finished under the previous US Open Record at 6:09.58 and 6:09.84, respectively.

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Joel Lin

I’m going to cry like a little baby when Eddie Reese retires.


Ohh yeah – his passion and knowledge is just mind blowing . Jack needs to be on that Us team this summer


I am a huge fan of Eddie Reese, always amazed by the way he talks about the sport and his swimmers. Keep my fingers crossed that he stays in coaching long enough, and of course my son is fast enough, so that he can be coached by Eddie Reese. Let’s drink to his health!

About Stephen Parsons

Stephen Parsons

Stephen's swimming journey has taken him all across the Southeastern United States. Starting out at the Flowood, MS based Sunkist Swim Team, he made the transition to Auburn, AL where he competed the remainder of his high school years with Auburn Aquatics. His college career began at Daytona State College under the …

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