WATCH: Bobby Finke ‘Finkes’ The Field in 3 Races at 2021 U.S. Open


Bobby Finke etched his named into the history books at the Tokyo Olympics in instant-classic fashion, coming from behind in both the 800 and 1500 freestyle to claim gold out of nowhere. He’s seemingly carrying that strategy, now forever dubbed “Finking,” into the new season.

At the 2021 U.S. Open, the Florida senior picked up three wins — in the 800 free, 1500 free, and 400 IM. In all three, he was back at it, eating up his unwitting opponents in the final lengths. He also raced the 400 free (3:51.44), and closed in a 27.10, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the field for first.

“I’m not the 400 kind of guy,” Finke later said Friday.

Watch below as race leaders try to hold on, only to “get Finked.”

800 Free

Finke hit a 7:54.07 to win the 800 (he was 7:41.87 in Tokyo). While Finke actually led the pack for the majority of the race, he nearly lost the race when Ohio State swimmer Charlie Clark made a last-minute bid, but Finke battled back.

At the halfway mark Finke was nearly 2 seconds ahead of Clark’s 3:59.53 with a 3:57.62, but Clark made up some ground over the next 300 meters. Clark flipped at the 700-meter mark with a 6:57.22, which was just 0.01 seconds off Finke’s 6:57.21. 50 meters later Clark had overtaken Finke, splitting 7:25.69 to Finke’s 7:26.87.

Finke relied on his closing speed and threw down a 27.20 closing split to re-take the lead and get his hand on the wall first. Clark was just off Finke’s winning time with a 7:54.40.

400 IM

Finking apparently translates to IM events, as well.

The double Olympic champion topped the 400 IM in 4:17.39, although his best time — from Olympic Trials — is 4:11.44. He split 27.35/31.51/32.68/31.77/38.03/38.58/30.13/27.34 and made up a 1.4 second gap on SwimMAC Carolina’s Baylor Nelson over the final 100 meters. Nelson, the No. 1 recruit in the high school class of 2022, split 27.43/31.52/33.25/33.09/36.01/37.23/30.34/28.74.

1500 Free

Finke and Charlie Clark were even through the 1400 mark, but Finke started to make his move around the final 125 meters and eventually took the win in 15:04.77. Finke split 56.2 (29.6/26.6) on the final 100 meters to surpass Clark with a two body-length lead by the time they hit the finish.

Finke’s splits were surgical, hitting :30’s on every 50 except for the opening leg (27.68) and the final three 50s, which were 29.9, 29.6, and 26.6. Notably, his last 50 (26.6) was a full second faster than his opening split, further illustrating Finke’s jaw-dropping ability to close his races.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

distance training doing it right in FLA

Ol' Longhorn
1 year ago

How can he not have a world-class 200 free when he outsplits those guys on the final 50 of a 1500? Maybe when he’s older and wants to dial down the distance.

Michael Schwartz
1 year ago

All I can say is “Holy Finke”, “what the Finke”, and “How the Finke”.

1 year ago

And Nic Fink “Finked” Dolphinovich 3 times in a row yesterday. 🤣🤣🦅🦅

Reply to  Swimfan
1 year ago

To Fink or to be Finked, that is the question

Reply to  Ragnar
1 year ago

Finke rolls over thee.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Swimfan
1 year ago

Too bad he left it for ISL finals and not Trials.

1 year ago

I’ll accept the Paris 2024 head coach job with this ironclad strategy: Finke anchors every relay.

You’re all welcome.

Reply to  Drewbrewsbeer
1 year ago

Just have him do a cool 1300 warmup at his 1500 pace before immediately diving in to anchor the 800 free relay. I guarantee he’d split a 1:41 somehow

Reply to  PVSFree
1 year ago

Found my 1st assistant.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

Read More »