Texas Sets New American Record in 3rd Place Effort in 800 Free Relay

by Robert Gibbs 21

March 21st, 2018 News


Losing Jack Conger and Clark Smith on the 800 free relay may not have been as big of a deal as it appeared it would be.  While the Longhorns did slip to 3rd place this year, with NC State repeating as champions and once again swimming the fastest time ever, and Indiana coming in 2nd, the Texas men were actually faster tonight in their 3rd place effort than they were last year.

Tonight’s time of 6:07.59 by Townley Haas, Jeff Newkirk, Jonathan Roberts, and Austin Katz broke the American Record that Texas set at last year‘s NCAAs in their 2nd-place effort by over a second.

Texas, 2017:
Jack Conger – 1:31.54
Jeff Newkirk – 1:33.25
Clark Smith – 1:33.40
Townley Haas – 1:30.42
Total: 6:08.61

Texas, 2018:
Townley Haas – 1:30.41
Jeff Newkirk – 1:32.58
Jonathan Roberts – 1:32.36
Austin Katz – 1:32.24
Total: 6:07.59

While they may have faded one spot back in the standings, tonight’s effort seems to bode well for Texas, as each swimmer on the relay set a new personal best.  While Haas lost out to Blake Pieroni in his quest to become the first man to break 1:30, his leadoff time was faster than either of his individual times the past two years, when he won the individual 200 free championship.  Newkirk was just a hair faster than he was at last year’s Big 12 Championships, Roberts broke 1:33 for the first time, and Katz was over a second and a half faster than he was at last December’s Texas Hall of Fame Invite.

Tonight, NC State and Indiana both had swimmers who represent other countries internationally, meaning they were ineligible to set the American Record, while all four of the Texas men are eligible to represent the United States, including Haas, who earned a gold medal in 2016 as part of the USA’s 4×200 free relay.

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Double Arm Freestyle
3 years ago

If Katz just dropped 1.5 seconds in the 200 free from mid season, he’s gonna be terrifying in the 200 Back where he was already 1:38 mid season…

Reply to  Double Arm Freestyle
3 years ago

I thought the 4 Texas guys looked better than the 4 Cal guys. I know it’s a small sample size, but I believe Texas seems to be on more so than Cal. And as well as NC State and IU swam, I don’t think either have the depth to compete with Texas and Cal for the team title.

Reply to  ArtVanDeLegh10
3 years ago

Only saw the splits, but agreed. Seliskar is on, others for Cal were “meh.”

Reply to  Double Arm Freestyle
3 years ago

Yep. Look out for Ronny Joberts in the 2bk as well with that split. He had a great summer 2017 in that event as well and has been minimally rested midseason if his 200fr drop is any indication.

Jon Babbitt
3 years ago

Where’s conger when you need him? You let me down in the pick em contest texas… you let me down!

Reply to  Jon Babbitt
3 years ago

On the flipside… hard to argue with a 6:07.

Reply to  Jon Babbitt
3 years ago

If you picked Texas to win you only have yourself to blame

Reply to  Jon Babbitt
3 years ago

Texas is not the favourite to win 800 free relay.

3 years ago

Alright, credit for four red-blooded ‘murricans on the relay. Golf clap.