Texas Sets New NCAA, American, and U.S. Open Records in 800 Free Relay


  • Wednesday, March 27 – Saturday, March 30
  • Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, Austin, Texas
  • Prelims 10 AM / Finals 6 PM (Central Time)
  • Defending champion: Texas (4x) (2018 results)
  • Psych Sheet
  • Live results

Kicking off what should be a hotly-contested race for the team title at this year’s NCAAs was the home team Texas, putting together a winning 800 free relay that breaks all three big records in the books.

Drew KiblerAustin KatzJeff Newkirk, and Townley Haas combined for a 6:05.08, taking over two tenths off of the NCAA and U.S. Open records of 6:05.31 done by NC State relay at the 2018 NCAA Champs. Because that relay included one non-American, Andreas Vazaios, it wasn’t eligible for the American record, which was (until tonight) a 6:07.59 done by Texas to place 3rd in this event last year.

The 2019 Texas quartet, which swapped in the freshman Kibler for the now-graduated Jonathan Roberts, now holds all three records.

Last year, Haas led off in 1:30.41, with Newkirk 2nd at 1:32.58, Roberts 3rd at 1:32.36, and Katz anchoring at 1:32.24. This year, all three men were quicker than they were last year (albeit with Haas switched onto the anchor leg, Katz moved to the second leg, and Newkirk the third). Check out the split comparison below between these three relays.

Texas 2019 NCAAs NC State 2018 NCAAs
Texas 2018 NCAAs
Kibler 1:32.06 Vazaios 1:31.32 Haas 1:30.41
Katz 1:31.45 Held 1:31.09 Newkirk 1:32.58
Newkirk 1:31.91 Molacek 1:32.13 Roberts 1:32.36
Haas 1:29.66 Ress 1:30.77 Katz 1:32.24
6:05.08 6:05.31 6:07.59

In the second heat of this race (Texas was in the third and final heat), Dean Farris of Harvard proved that he hadn’t fully peaked at the Ivy League Champs last month, barrelling the Crimson out to a huge lead with a 1:29.15 to break the NCAA, American, and U.S. Open records — all of those had previously belonged to Haas at 1:29.50.

Farris’s 1:30.22 had previously been the fastest-ever split on a relay, however, and now Haas has flipped that and made that record his own with his 1:29.66 split to anchor Texas tonight. With Farris not swimming the individual 200 free, Haas still has two more chances this meet to challenge Farris’s new mark.

Tonight in Austin, NC State touched 2nd in 6:06.63 from the second heat, while Harvard snagged 7th.

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If only Dean was allowed to keep going and do the whole 800 this record may well have been under 6 minutes.

mike in dallas

The first day of ‘predictions’ seems to be right on course!

Mr Piano

I wonder if Townley holds back on the relay. His individual 200 is much faster than what his relay performances show, opposite of his long course splits.


They say he gets faster as the meet goes. Not sure if he’s touching the DEAN record but watch out for sub 1:29.5


No, he doesn’t. He went 1:43.3 LC in the relay after 1;45.2 individual.

If he really gets better as the meet goes on then awesome.

He’s not breaking 1:29. Sorry

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.

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