Luke Hobson Breaks Michael Phelps’ 17-Year-Old 500 Free NAG In 4:12.12


  • Wednesday, December 1 – Saturday, December 4, 2021
  • Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Prelims – 10 AM / Finals – 6 PM (CST)
  • SCY (25y)
  • Psych Sheets
  • Live Results
  • Results also on Meet Mobile as “Minnesota Invite 2021”
  • Live Stream (fee)
  • Day 1 Recap

University of Texas freshman Luke Hobson had an unbelievable performance in the men’s 500 freestyle prelims on Thursday morning at the Minnesota Invite, breaking the 17-18 National Age Group Record set by Michael Phelps back in 2004.

Hobson, 18, negative-split his way to a time of 4:12.12 in the 500 heats, lowering Phelps’ 17-year-old NAG of 4:12.33 set in March 2004 at the Maryland LSC Championships. That time was produced by Phelps while he was the American Record holder in the LCM 400 freestyle, having gone 3:46.73 at the 2003 Summer Nationals.

Hobson, who came into the meet with a PB of 4:16.56 set this past March, paced with sophomore teammate Coby Carrozza through 300 yards before taking off on the last 100, splitting 24.82/24.27 down the stretch to scorch his way to a new NAG record and the third-fastest time in the country.

SwimSwam was unable to locate splits for Phelps’ swim, though in this Baltimore Sun article he notes he turned at the halfway mark in 2:04 (compared to Hobson’s 2:06.7).

Hobson’s Splits

  • 23.65
  • 25.60 (49.25)
  • 25.64 (1:14.89)
  • 25.96 (1:40.85)
  • 25.85 (2:06.70)
  • 25.53 (2:32.23)
  • 25.39 (2:57.62)
  • 25.41 (3:23.03)
  • 24.82 (3:47.85)
  • 24.27 (4:12.12)

Hobson, only our 10th-ranked domestic recruit in the high school class of 2021 (re-rank), sits third in the country this season behind Florida’s Kieran Smith (4:10.72) and Alfonso Mestre (4:11.26).

Prior to this swim, Hobson ranked 31st in the 17-18 age group in the 500 free. He is the seventh swimmer in the age group to crack the 4:13 barrier.

Reigning 500 free NCAA champion Jake Magahey ranks fourth in the age group history with a time of 4:12.72, while former NCAA Record holder and national champ Townley Haas sits 10th with his time from the Texas Hall of Fame Invite as a freshman in December 2015.

Men’s All-Time 17-18 500 Freestyle Rankings

  1. Luke Hobson (TEX), 4:12.12 – 2021
  2. Michael Phelps (NBAC), 4:12.33 – 2004
  3. Reed Malone (USC), 4:12.66 – 2014
  4. Jake Magahey (SA), 4:12.72 – 2019
  5. Zach Yeadon (ND), 4:12.74 – 2018
  6. Trey Freeman (FLOR), 4:12.80 – 2019
  7. Grant Shoults (UN), 4:12.87 – 2016
  8. Patrick Callan (TAC), 4:13.78 – 2018
  9. Jack Conger (UN), 4:13.87 – 2013
  10. Townley Haas (TEX), 4:14.07 – 2015

Phelps, who won eight Olympic medals four months after that 500 free swim in 2004, ended up bringing his best time down to 4:10.43 in January 2008, ranking him 25th all-time in the event.

Prior to joining the University of Texas this fall, Hobson swam for Lakeridge Swim Team out of Reno, Nevada. Born in June 2003, he’ll be eligible to break 17-18 NAGs until midway through 2022.

On Wednesday night in Minneapolis, Hobson split 1:31.34 on Texas’ ‘B’ 800 free relay, which was the fastest split in the field and more than three and a half seconds better than his flat-start best time (1:35.09).

In addition to tonight’s 500 free final, he’s entered to swim the 200 free individually on Friday and the 1650 on Saturday.

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8 months ago

Phelps won 8 gold medals in 2008, not 2004.

8 months ago

It’s crazy how good jack conger was at everything

Mr Piano
Reply to  swimswamsers
8 months ago

He had 3 really great 200s. Honestly he probably could have ripped a great 200 IM.

Reply to  Mr Piano
8 months ago

My guess is his breast wasn’t very good or else we would have seen him swim a few 200 IMs.

Kurt Dickson
8 months ago

I used to race his old man (Chip-USC) in Colorado back in high school (80s) Congratulations Luke!

Reply to  Kurt Dickson
8 months ago

Chip was a Trojan distance phenom! Way to go Luke!

Michael Andrew Wilson
8 months ago

He looked real fresh at the end, I’ve gotta think he’s under 4:10 tonight.

Case Chalish
Reply to  Michael Andrew Wilson
8 months ago

Called it much?

Ol' Longhorn
8 months ago

Imagine what Phelps would’ve done across the board in NCAAs.

Mr Piano
Reply to  Ol' Longhorn
8 months ago

Didn’t you say a while ago that “Phelps sucked at yards?”

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Mr Piano
8 months ago

Factually yes if you look at his times. If he’d trained yards in an NCAA environment, a different story. But good for you for cataloging my comments. I’ve been interested in an Ol’ Longhorn library.

8 months ago

Wow! Way to break a legendary record, Luke!

8 months ago

Also kind of makes me wonder what Phelps might have done in the 500 if he really had ever concentrated on it (i.e at the NCAA level). Nonetheless a very impressive swim from Luke Hobson

Reply to  James
8 months ago

I think his body was better suited for the IMs and fly especially due to him being double jointed in an above average number of locations and his wingspan being freakish. However, without him concentrating on the 500 or any other events that did not overlap with specialities and still dished out scary times just shows how crazy phelps was

Reply to  Swimmerfromjapananduk
8 months ago

Double-jointed doesn’t exist. “really flexible” is accurate.

Reply to  Doomer
8 months ago

Hypermobile is the current term used in medicine.

Reply to  Katie
8 months ago

Not even that is a term, there is joint hyper mobility syndrome which comes from just being flexible but haven’t heard anyone use the term hyper mobile before. Either way, double jointed just sounds cooler imo

Mr Piano
Reply to  Swimmerfromjapananduk
8 months ago

He went 1:43 In the 200 free textile lol

Reply to  Mr Piano
8 months ago

Which is crazy I know

8 months ago

If he was 17, since the record is 2004, the NAG is for the 17-18 year age group and 17 years old when it was broken, you could have said “17 year old NAG broken.”

which is cool, but an 18 year old going 4:12 tho??😳😳😳

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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