Norvy Clontz Swims 3:50 in the 400 Free, Fastest American 15-Year Old Ever


15-year old Norvy Clontz of SwimMAC Carolina is now the fastest swimmer ever at his age in the 400 meter freestyle.

He swam 3:50.82 on Wednesday evening, which won the event and broke the 2017 Meet Record of 3:51.44 set by Alex Zettle.

While USA Swimming doesn’t keep single age records, only one swimmer has been faster at either end of the 15-16 age group: Larsen Jensen, who swam 3:50.68 in 2002. Jensen was less than three weeks from his 17th birthday when he swam that time.

The previous fastest American 15-year old in the event’s history was Dare Rose, who swam 3:51.41 in 2018.

When talking about middle-distance freestyle at 15, of course, the gold standard continues to be Australian Ian Thorpe. Thorpe swam 3:44.35 at this age in 1998; he would become the World Champion in the event that year, his first of what would become three World Championships in the event.

Globally, the person who has come closest to that recently was Italian Lorenzo Galossi, who swam 3:45.93 at the Italian Spring Championships in April.

While Clontz’s time is a ways away from those swims, it is the latest spark in American middle distance swimming, which is a discipline where the US has lagged behind the world for most of the last 30 years. The only US medalist in the 400 free at the World Championships since 1986 was Connor Jaeger, who won bronze in 2013. The US has had more success in the event at the Olympic Games (they’ve won the bronze medal at 5 of the last 6 Olympic Games), but also don’t have any silver or gold medals since winning both in 1984.

Jensen, who won bronze in 2008, remains the American Record holder in the event at 3:42.78.

Clontz’s previous best time of 3:53.71 in the 400 free came less than a week ago at Summer Nationals. Between the two meets, he has lopped five-and-a-half seconds off his best time of 3:57.13, done in April.

Clontz is now the 15th-fastest American of any age in the event this year. Only three other teenagers rank ahead of him on that list; four of those are 19 (Charlie Clark, Luke Hobson, James Plage), and the other is 18 (Alex Enyeart).

Below are two splits comparisons tables to show how far Clontz has come, and the swimmers he’s chasing.

Comparisons to Previous Personal Bests

Norvy Clontz Norvy Clontz Norvy Clontz
Junior Nationals Senior Nationals
April 2022 Sectionals
100m 55.97 57.16 57.67
200m 58.99 59.53 60.04
300m 58.73 59.34 60.2
400m 57.13 57.68 58.26
Final Time 3:50.82 3:53.71 3:56.17

Comparisons to World’s top 15-Year Olds

Norvy Clontz Larsen Jensen @ 16 Lorenzo Galossi @ 15
2022 Junior Nationals 2002 US Nationals 2022 Italian Nationals
1998 Commonwealth Games
100m 55.97 57.01 55.3 53.58
200m 58.99 58.38 57.62 57.31
300m 58.73 58.59 57.12 57.42
400m 57.13 56.7 55.89 56.04
Final Time 3:50.82 3:50.68 3:45.93 3:44.35

Clontz also swam a best time in the 200 fly of 2:05.53 earlier in the meet. He swam a 4:27.85 in prelims of the 400 IM, about three seconds slower than he was at Senior Nationals last week, and scratched finals.

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Awsi Dooger
1 year ago

1984 was the year that mattered. I had several McDonald’s game cards for men’s 400 freestyle. The employees at the McDonald’s just outside the Stardust sportsobook entrance were so sick of handing out those cards all day long they finally figured out they could get rid of them early and tell all subsequent customers sorry we’re out. Consequently we’d walk over there for a 25 cent ice cream cone and come back with dozens of cards.

I became the go-to guy in terms of others from the Stardust asking me if we had a chance in this event or that event, ones that they needed the most. Everybody knew I followed the so-called minor sports. Finally I just started… Read more »

1 year ago

“Norvy Clontz” gives these kinda vibes
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Mr Piano
1 year ago

I was gonna bring up that Thorpe went 3:44 in a brief when he was 15, but then I saw it was “American”

Reply to  Mr Piano
1 year ago

I feel like there are probably a few more Australians in between Thorpe and Clontz also.

They’ve done a great job with that event for a long time. Even now our best 18 and unders are 3:50 and 3:51 at the moment while they have a 3:44.

Reply to  Riccardo
1 year ago

Clontz is impressive even by Australian standards in the 400 and would be ranked #2 in the age rankings behind Thorpe.

3:44.35 Ian Thorpe
3:53.90 Elijah Winnington
3:55.09 Flynn Southam
3:55.53 Thomas Neill
3:56.05 Samuel Short
3:56.49 Mack Horton
3:56.85 Thomas Hauck
3:57.04 Jordan Harrison
3:57.28 Anders McAlpine
3:57.44 Grant Hackett

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Ian Thorpe was an anomaly

please stop
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

shh don’t get in the way of a good american swimmers bad train. God Bless Australia, God Bless Australia, God Bless Australia. The only country with fast swimmers/s

1 year 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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