Robert Gibbs contributed to this report.
Two days after coming within a fraction of a second of breaking the American and NCAA Records in the 500 free, Texas Longhorn Clark Smith finally put his stamp on the record book. In the 1650 freestyle at the Texas Invite, Smith was going for the 1000 split, with an eye on the American and NCAA records. He ended up shattering both of them, coming in at 8:33.93, well clear of the American record of Erik Vendt (8:36.49) and the NCAA record of Michael McBroom (8:43.48).
Smith’s final time in the race was 15:41.16.
Earlier this evening, the Texas Men’s Swim & Dive social media announced that Smith would be going for the mark, and he did not disappoint. He went out in 4:14.4 at the 500 mark, then swam the second 500 in roughly 4:19.5, before taking it much easier over the final 650 yards to finish in 15:41.16. Matthew Hutchins of Wisconsin went onto win the 1650 in 14:38.14
Vendt had set the previous American (and US Open) record in January 2008 at the Southern California Grand Prix, sixth months before he earned an Olympic gold medal swimming in the heats of the 4×200 free relay in Beijing.
A former Longhorn, McBroom, had owned the NCAA record since February, 2013. He still has the American record in both the long course and short course versions of the the 800m freestyle, with the LCM record coming from the 2013 World Championships and the short course from the 2013 Duel in the Pool.
Smith is the reigning NCAA champion in the 500 free, but didn’t swim the mile at last year’s NCAA championships, instead swimming the 200 fly on the final day of competition. He made the A-final in that event, but disqualified in the evening session. Texas has plenty of depth in both events. At last year’s NCAA championships, fellow Longhorns Joseph Schooling and Jack Conger finished first and second in the 200 fly. Sam Lewis finished 9th in the 1650, and freshman Townley Haas‘s 14:41.09 from this evening would have been the fourth-fastest time at the national championships last season.
According to the official Longhorns writeup, Smith said after the race, “It’s a stepping stone to where I want to be. It definitely sets me up well going into the NCAA Championships later on. I’ll probably try the mile at the Big 12 Championships and work my way up.”