Insane Final 50 Moves Michael Brinegar to #10 All-Time For U.S. 800 Free


Shortly after the halfway point of the first-ever 800 freestyle at U.S. Olympic Trials, Michael Brinegar looked out of the hunt.

Brinegar fell from second at the 400 to third at the 550, with NC State’s Ross Dant swimming by him. Dant held that spot all the way through the 750.

But that’s when Brinegar turned on the jets, dropping his splits from pretty consistently 29s and 30s to a blazing 27.35 on the final lap. Brinegar surged by Dant, making up a 1.7-second deficit in just 50 meters and outsplitting Dant by 2.6 seconds on the final 50.

Brinegar, who represents Mission Viejo and competes for Indiana at the college level, went 7:49.94, moving to #10 all-time among U.S. men in the event.

Brinegar and event winner Bobby Finke will likely be the first two men ever to represent Team USA at the Olympics in this event. The men’s 800 free was added to the Olympic program for the first time for the Tokyo Olympics.

Finke already ranks #8 all-time among U.S. men with his career-best 7:47.58 from 2019. Finke went 7:48.22 to win tonight.

Brinegar passes Clark Smith for the #10 spot and sits one spot behind Erik Vendt, who was 7:49.75 back in 2007.

The American record is a 7:43.60 from Michael McBroom back in 2013.

The success of distance standouts Finke and Brinegar is also good for Team USA’s roster cap – both Finke and Brinegar should have great shots to make the team in the 1500, which is arguably a better race for both. If they do, Team USA would get some valuable ‘doubles’ in helping all Olympic qualifiers fit under the 26-person roster cap.

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1 month ago

Nothing is impossible when you swim for THE GOAT, Ray Looze, and the Indiana University Hoosiers!

1 month ago

Ross Dant is the future. Watch out!

1 month ago

Devastating last 50 for Dant but the way the men’s distance events have looked this week I think he’s got a good shot at the 1500.

Phil McDade
Reply to  Swammer
1 month ago

He’s gotta (in all likelihood) get past two of: Wilimovsky, Finke & Brinegar, and all 3 of those guys get better the longer they swim. Not impossible by any means but the 1500 plays to those guys’ strength.

1 month ago

wrong thread

Last edited 1 month ago by Joe
1 month ago

Michael has so much heart that this shouldn’t have been such a big surprise to me, BUT I’M HAPPY IT WAS! Great night for, Michael, the IU Hoosiers and GOAT Coach Ray Looze! I’m going to have to get to work on updating my Indiana University poem!

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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