Swim of the Week: SEC Showdown Of Two Fastest 500 Freestylers In History

Disclaimer: Swim of the Week is not meant to be a conclusive selection of the best overall swim of the week, but rather one Featured Swim to be explored in deeper detail. The Swim of the Week is an opportunity to take a closer look at the context of one of the many fast swims this week, perhaps a swim that slipped through the cracks as others grabbed the headlines, or a race we didn’t get to examine as closely in the flood of weekly meets.

The men’s SEC Championships started off with a bang: Kieran Smith and Jake Magahey battled in what would turn out to be a showdown between the two fastest 500 freestylers in history.

Florida junior Smith was already the American and NCAA record-holder with his 4:06.32 from last year’s SEC meet. The fastest swimmer in history in the event, Smith hit the gas early, going out 1.3 seconds faster to the 200-mark than he was in his American record swim a year ago.

As a sophomore in 2020, Smith closed with absurd speed, dropping his splits from 25-lows to 24.8, 24.9 and 24.1 over the final three 50s. His torrid early pace in his junior year swim ultimately caught up with him, and his split went upwards from 24-highs to 25-lows. But Smith still managed to exactly tie his national record at 4:06.32.

Meanwhile, Georgia freshman Jake Magahey went out in about the same pace Smith did a year ago. And the distance-oriented Magahey followed the Smith gameplan, dropping his splits into the 24-highs, and even outpaced Smith with closing splits of 24.8, 24.4 and 24.3. Magahey wrapped the race in 4:06.71 – putting him as the #2 swimmer of all-time behind only Smith.

Top Performances All-Time, Men’s 500-yard free

  1. Kieran Smith (2020) / Kieran Smith (2021) – 4:06.32
  2. Jake Magahey (2021) – 4:06.71
  3. Zane Grothe (2017) – 4:07.25
  4. Townley Haas (2019) – 4:08.19

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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