Kieran Smith Ties 500 Free American Record In 4:06.32; Magahey Now #2 All-Time


Kieran Smith tied his 500 free American and NCAA Records on the nose tonight at the SEC Championships, clocking 4:06.32 for the second straight year to defend his title.

It didn’t come easy, however, as Georgia’s Jake Magahey took almost four seconds off his best time to become the second-fastest swimmer in history in 4:06.71.

Smith Record Split Comparison

Smith, 2020 SECs Smith, 2021 SECs
22.45 22.04
47.28 (24.83) 46.31 (24.27)
1:12.07 (24.79) 1:10.81 (24.50)
1:37.08 (25.01) 1:35.70 (24.89)
2:02.25 (25.17) 2:00.86 (25.16)
2:27.35 (25.10) 2:26.23 (25.37)
2:52.40 (25.05) 2:51.53 (25.30)
3:17.25 (24.85) 3:16.90 (25.37)
3:42.19 (24.94) 3:42.06 (25.16)
4:06.32 (24.13) 4:06.32 (24.26)

Smith (’21) vs Magahey Split Comparison

Magahey out-split Smith on every 50 over the back-half of the race except for the last one, where Smith gutted it out for the win in 24.26.

Smith Magahey
22.04 22.50
46.31 (24.27) 47.33 (24.83)
1:10.81 (24.50) 1:12.23 (24.90)
1:35.70 (24.89) 1:37.57 (25.34)
2:00.86 (25.16) 2:02.82 (25.25)
2:26.23 (25.37) 2:27.98 (25.16)
2:51.53 (25.30) 2:53.09 (25.11)
3:16.90 (25.37) 3:17.93 (24.84)
3:42.06 (25.16) 3:42.40 (24.47)
4:06.32 (24.26) 4:06.71 (24.31)

When Smith broke the record last season, he lowered Zane Grothe‘s American and U.S. Open Record of 4:07.25, set in 2017, and also downed Townley Haas‘ NCAA mark of 4:08.19 from 2019.

All-Time Performances, Men’s 500 Freestyle (SCY)

  1. Kieran Smith (FLOR) – 2020 /  Kieran Smith (FLOR) – 2021, 4:06.32
  2. Jake Magahey (UGA), 4:06.71 – 2021
  3. Zane Grothe (UN), 4:07.25 – 2017
  4. Townley Haas (TEX), 4:08.19 – 2019
  5. Drew Kibler (TEX), 4:08.26 – 2020
  6. Clark Smith (TEX), 4:08.42 – 2017
  7. Peter Vanderkaay (MICH), 4:08.54 – 2008
  8. Peter Vanderkaay (MICH) – 2006 / Townley Haas (TEX) – 2018, 4:08.60

Smith, now 20, entered last season’s SECs with a personal best time of 4:16.96, lowering it to 4:14.55 in the heats before dropping the 4:06 bomb. This season he came into meet having been 4:11.08 mid-season at the Auburn Fall Invitational, ranking him fourth in the country.

He now takes over the top spot in the nation from Texas’ Drew Kibler, who dropped a 4:08.26 in October which is now ranked as the sixth-fastest swim ever.

Magahey shatters both the Georgia school record of 4:09.48, set by Sebastien Rouault in 2008, and also the previous fastest time ever done by a freshman, which was a 4:08.95 from Michigan’s Felix Auboeck.

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1 year ago

Smith is awesome. Magahey makes it exciting. 150 in, you didn’t see that finish coming.

1 year ago

Magahey’s 2:03.8 on the back half is probably the fastest ever as well. Food for thought.

1 year ago

Maybe Smith should race the 500y more often. As in, in-season.

Reply to  Waader
1 year ago

Why change what’s working?

1 year ago

D1 needs to get with the times and offer a national championship in the 1000. These guys could def blow past the old record

1 year ago

Pretty amazing that Tom Dolan is just out of the top 10 with his 4:08 back in the 90s. Shows how amazing his swim was

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  Lpman
1 year ago

Also shows how little the event progressed for a long time. When Dolan went 4:08, the American record in the 400 LCM was 3:48, and the world record was 3:43.8. The American record is now a little over 5 seconds faster and the world record is just under 4 seconds faster, and the 500 has improved 2.5.

Reply to  PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
1 year ago

Man, you just got me thinking — could peak Thorpe have gone under 4 for the 500?

PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
Reply to  Joe
1 year ago

My guess would be no because I don’t think his turns were good enough to translate down from LCM to SCY. The guy who I think could have gotten closest would be Agnel-3:32.2 in the 400 SCM would seem to put him into that territory.

I know the counter to this argument is “but Townley’s turns lololol”, but I think Townley is actually quite good at the turning part of the turn and quite bad at the kicking part of the turn. We saw a ton of relays where Townley never got eaten up on the turns by some of the best sprinters. I do recall Ian losing on every turn to Klete in ’04, and it’s not like Klete… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by PK Doesn't Like His Long Name
1 year ago

wish the article also compare JM’s swim tonight here… JM’s split looks similar to KS’s 2020 swim – going faster and faster each 50 in the second 250.

KS going out hard 200, cruise and only pick up speed at the end.

It will be a great battle at NCAA

Reply to  Spectatorn
1 year ago

Magahey last 200 splits were 25.1, 24.8, 24.4, 24.3

Andrew Majeske
Reply to  PhillyMark
1 year ago

1.39.1 or .2 final 200!

Reply to  PhillyMark
1 year ago


1 year ago

Ncaas is going to be a fun race. Smith magahey rematch with kibler in the mix. Probably gonna be the best overall race in terms of competitiveness

1 year ago

US mens 400 free in good shape moving forward

Reply to  Horninco
1 year ago

Oh yeah. Id like to see how these guys factor into the 800m free relay as well. That pool of guys is just getting deeper and deeper.

Reply to  Horninco
1 year ago

Not to be a party pooper but traditionally the 500 free hasn’t been a REALLY good indicator of 400 free performances. I would say the only person on that list that has been consistently competitive on the world stage is Vanderkaay.

But then again both Smith and Magahey seem to have very LCM oriented strokes so we’ll just have to hope

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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