Freshman Robert Finke Swims 5th-Best Men’s Mile in History

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 8

February 23rd, 2019 College, News, SEC


University of Florida freshman Robert Finke lived up to all of the hype he had coming into his collegiate career. The US National Teamer swam a 14:23.01 on Saturday in the men’s mile, which crushed the SEC Meet Championship Record by 12 seconds, very-nearly broke the NCAA Record, and goes down as the 5th-fastest performance in history.

The old SEC Meet record was a 14:35.47 set by Georgia’s Sebastian Roualt in 2006. The previous 4 best times in NCAA history were all done in the same final at the 2017 NCAA Championships. The American Record of 14:18.25 was done by Zane Grothe in December of 2017: after the end of his college career.

All-Time Best Performances, Men’s 1650 Yard Free:

  1. Zane Grothe, 14:18.25 – 2017 (Post-NCAA career)
  2. Clark Smith, 14:22.41 – 2017
  3. Felix Auboeck, 14:22.88 – 2017
  4. Akaram Mahmoud, 14:22.99 – 2017
  5. Robert Finke, 14:23.01 – 2019
  6. Jordan Wilimovsky, 14:23.45 – 2017
  7. Connor Jaeger, 14:23.52 – 2014 (Post-NCAA career)
  8. Martin Grodzki, 14:24.08 – 2012
  9. Chad La Tourette, 14:24.35 – 2012
  10. Anton Ipsen, 14:24.43 – 2018 (last year’s NCAA Champion)

Finke won the race by 25 seconds over his fellow highly-touted Florida freshman Trey Freeman, who took 2nd in 14:48.69.

Finke’s previous best time was a 14:37.49 done at the 2018 Florida Spring Senior Champs when he was still in high school. Freeman’s previous best was a 14:59.33 from the 2016 Speedo Winter Junior Champs, so his result was a big time drop as well.

Stunningly, Finke’s time is still not the fastest ever by a freshman. That belongs to Michigan’s Felix Auboeck, who swam 14:22.88 at the 2017 NCAA Championships, just getting out-touched by Clark Smith. Auboeck, however, was already 20 years old by the end of his freshman year – much older than most freshmen.

The previous best time by a freshman (since at least 2007-2008, as far back as the NCAA database goes) was a 14:33.55 done by Stanford’s Chad LaTourette in 2009.

Finke split 8:41.80 at the 1000, which is just off the 8:40.47 that Grothe split in his record-breaking swim. Only 3 1000 yard freestyles to the hand have been faster than Finke’s 1000 yard split.

Finke is a member of the USA Swimming National Team and represented America at the 2017 World Championships in the long course equivalent: the 1500 meter free. He finished 21st.

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Fred Lewis
4 years ago

Robert Finke did not attend the 2016 Speedo Winter Championships. Robert has not attended a Junior National Meet, since he made his first Senior National Qualifying Time.

Reply to  Fred Lewis
4 years ago

I think it’s just a mis-print, and should have read “Freeman’s”

Daniel Jablonski
4 years ago

Robert Finke is absolutely a scy swimmer, can’t wait to see what he can do at NCAAs.

Reply to  Daniel Jablonski
4 years ago

Lets not disregard the 14:55 LCM mile either…

Reply to  Rocky
4 years ago

He went 14:48 in PanPacs last year.

Reply to  Peyton
4 years ago

Hi Peyton

Reply to  Rocky
4 years ago

I think he was inferring that Funke could only do LCM!

William Wallace
4 years ago


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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