Regan Barney Races an 800 Meter Swim, Does IM Instead of Freestyle


  • Austin, Texas
  • June 23rd – June 25th
  • Results

At the 2017 Texas Open, Longhorn Aquatics’ Regan Barney decided to race the 800 free doing IM. You can swim any legal stroke during a freestyle race, and Barney went right ahead and swam all of them. She finished the race 13th, going 10:23.93. Check out her splits below:

  • FLY: 32.28 37.60 39.20 38.91 (2:27.99)
  • BACK: 39.40 37.58 39.73 38.38 (2:35.09)
  • BREAST: 45.61 44.11 45.55 44.48 (2:59.75)
  • FREE: 35.85 35.34 35.39 34.52 (2:21.10)
  • TOTAL: 10:23.93

Doing a 200 breast after being just halfway done with the race sounds horrifying, but Barney seems to actually enjoy the challenge. “IM is the only way to make the 800 interesting,” she said. “Without IM it’s just a warm down.” Her coach, Mike Laitala, explained a bit on why she did the 800 IM. “She has done the 800, 1500 free but wants to be an IMer, so she hadn’t done that until today.”

Barney also won the 200 fly (2:19.40), finished 2nd in the 1500 free and 200 breast, and place in the top 8 in the 100 fly, 400 free and 100 breast. She’ll start classes and swim practices at Princeton this fall.

Meanwhile, two University of Texas sprinters put up best times in the men’s 50 free. Tate Jackson (22.79) and Jeremy Nichols (22.96) were ahead of the rest of the pack to go 1-2. Both went best times, breaking 23 seconds for the first time.

Ryan Harty swam a couple events at his second meet of the year after recovering from an arm injury. He competed in the 100 back, 200 back, and 200 free, touching 3rd in the 100 back (57.77), 3rd in the 200 back (2:08.54) and 8th in the 200 free (1:55.67). His sister, Kaitlyn Harty, won both backstroke races, going 1:04.67 in the 100 and 2:16.90 in the 200.

Diana DunnJeff Newkirk and Emma Wheal each won two events. Austin Swim Club’s Dunn swam well in the 200 IM (2:18.36) and also touched at 4:24.73 to win the 400 free. Longhorn Aquatics’ Newkirk won the 200 and 400 frees, going 1:51.15 in the 200 and 4:00.57 in the 400. Wheal, a 15-year-old from Western Hills Athletic Club, took the 50 free (26.62) and the 100 fly (1:02.91).

Leave a Reply

7 Comment threads
6 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
12 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted

I thought it’s legal to swim a different stroke in place of free, but whatever stroke you start with you have to continue doing. Am I wrong?

Karl Ortegon

From the FINA website (and this is also listed in the same words in the USA Swimming rule book): SW 5.1 Freestyle means that in an event so designated the swimmer may swim any style, except that in individual medley or medley relay events, freestyle means any style other than backstroke, breaststroke or butterfly. SW 5.2 Some part of the swimmer must touch the wall upon completion of each length and at the finish. SW 5.3 Some part of the swimmer must break the surface of the water throughout the race, except it shall be permissible for the swimmer to be completely submerged during the turn and for a distance of not more than 15 metres after the start and… Read more »

The “same stroke throughout” is sometimes used in summer leagues to prevent showboating by 15-18s, but isn’t a rule at any serious level. This became an issue when instituted in the summer league I used to coach in, because overzealous officials started disqualifying swimmers if, for example, their kick rhythm changed. It was a nightmare for 2 meets before we got someone to clarify.


I have always felt that an 800 IM would be an awesome event. Definitely better than the 50s of each stroke.

Sir Swimsalot

One word. Yuck


I agree. Also include 800 medley relay. Since all strokes are compete 200’s it makes sense. Just as in track and field there are those who like sprints more, and other who like distance more, i think there is the same in swimming. Personally i am bored (thankfully not for long) with 50 events. No strategy, often no lead changes, can’t see the swimmers well because of all the splashing.

Dr Deluxe

Interesting topic..FYI..there was a Region 8 ( AAU/ Oklahoma ) Championship
in the mid-late 60’s that had an official,sanctioned 800 IM event. Officials felt it
would be an event of the future and wanted to get a “jump” on the rest of the nation.
Participants included Tom Kemp , Phillips 66 SPLASH CLUB and Richard Hermes,
Kerr McGee Swim Club and later NC State.


I was there and swam a the 800 IM, but Tom Kempf walked away with the win. His brother Gary Kempf coached at Kansas for many years, and he might have swam it as well. Gary may remember the pool (I can picture it but cannot place it). I mentioned to DR DELUX that I was certain that it was indeed a sanctioned event by the AAU with the word going around was that it would sooner or later become a standard event. I strongly believe an 800 IM and an 800 medley relay would be killer events at NCAAs. If we can get Sid Cassidy on this, perhaps he can push this proposal with the same success he had… Read more »

This is a great story. Stories like these are the best part of the SwimSwam comments.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!