WATCH: Clark Smith & 3 Others Break NCAA 1650 Record In Thrilling Race

As reported by Robert Gibbs:


  • NCAA record: 14:24.08, Martin Grodzki, Georgia, 2012
  • American record: 14:23.52, Connor Jaeger, Club Wolverine, 2014
  • U.S. Open record: 14:23.52, Connor Jaeger, Club Wolverine, 2014
  • 2016 NCAA Champion: 14:31.54, Chris Swanson, Pennsylvania

Early heats recap:

Wisconsin’s Matt Hutchins had the fastest time from the early heats, taking the heat 4 with a 14:31.19.  That’s almost two seconds faster than the time from this 3rd place finish last year, and faster than last year’s winning time.  Stanford freshman Grant Shoults knocked over fourteen seconds off his seed time with a 14:35.82 out of heat 3.  Florida senior Mitch D’Arrigo was the only other man under 14:40 so far, touching in 14:38.40 in the same heat as Hutchins.

The final heat promised to be exciting, as it featured a loaded field, and sure enough this was, as announcer Sam Kendriks called it, “the greatest 1650 in history.”  Sure enough, Texas senior Clark Smith and Northwestern senior Jordan Wilimovsky, both USA Olympians, were ahead of US Open and American record pace at the 500, but PJ Ransford and Felix Auboeck kept it close, with Ransford taking the lead by the halfway point and moving ahead of the record pace himself.

At the 1000, Ransford was a body length ahead of the field and still ahead of pace, with Smith, Auboeck and Wilimovsky close together and battling for 2nd.  The leaders would continue to hold that pattern for a few more laps, while South Carolina’s Akaram Mahmoud began to move up on that group out of lane eight.

Wilimovsky took the lead at 1300 and was a second under record pace at the 1350.   By the 1400 mark, all five of the aforementioned men were in a line together, and it looked like the race would belong to whomever could push it coming up.  Ransford began to fall off the pace, but the final were laps were absolutely insane, with the lead changing back and forth, but Smith took the lead with about a 100 to go, and held on to the lead, touching in 14:22.41 and setting a new US Open, American, and NCAA record.  Smith was barely able to climb out of the pool and had to be helped off the deck.

Auboeck, Mahmoud, and Wilimovsky were all under the previous mark of 14:23.52, which was set by Connor Jaeger at the 2014 USA Winter National Championships.

Top Eight:

  1. Clark Smith, Texas, 14:22.41
  2. Felix Auboeck, Michigan, 14:22.80
  3. Akaram Mahmoud, South Carolina, 14:22.99
  4. Jordan Wilimovsky, Northwestern, 14:23.45
  5. Matt Hutchins, Wisconsin, 14:31.19
  6. PJ Ransford, Michigan, 14:32.35
  7. Anton Ipsen, NC State, 14:34.85
  8. Grant Shoults, Stanford, 14:35.82

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Captain Ahab
7 years ago

If PJ Ransford works on holding that pace he could possibly go 14:16. That kid is tough. What club did he compete for?

PK doesn\'t like his new long name
Reply to  Captain Ahab
7 years ago

He grew up swimming for PACK-NI just outside of Rochester, NY.

Reply to  Captain Ahab
7 years ago

I did wonder what would have happened if he’d waited til, say, the 800 to make his move.

7 years ago

Watch out for Wilimovsky this summer. He just keeps improving. He’s the best LCM of the bunch by a lot in 14:45 and this was another 10 second drop for him in SCY.

Reply to  swimswammer
7 years ago

Him and Clark will qualify in June for the 800 and 1,500 .

7 years ago

Clark will also be in the 400.

7 years ago

They look to be the favorites, sure. I wonder if Clark will stick with being a real distance swimmer, though… he dropped down to the 200 to make top 6 at the Olympics and it seemed to hurt his 1500. Might need to decide on that trade-off. I think True Sweetser will be in the mix this summer, too, even though he had a tough meet last week.

7 years ago

Amazing race

7 years ago

No one can say now that Clark Smith couldn’t handle the pressure.

He made his move at the right time to take the lead and win the race. If he becomes a top 1500 m freestyler, he will have other races likes this that will come down to the wire.

Felix had a tremendous surge on the last 50. He moved up two places to get second.

7 years ago

I’ve watched this 3 times now and can’t get enough. What a RACE!

7 years ago

Clark Smith: 11 strokes per 25. Everyone else: 12, 13, 14 strokes per 25. And with a pulled groin muscle. Like Eddie said, “Swimmers are used to pain—they’re really good at it.” Outstanding!

7 years ago

amazing swims!!! 4 people under American record that is incredible. It was interesting to see. It looked like it was PJ Randsford for while then the other guys came on strong in the middle lane. Akaram swam a very smart race in lane 8, even at the 1200 he looked pretty far behind. Very well swam all of these guys.

7 years ago

Fantastic race. When’s the last time someone has held the American records in the 500-1000-1650 at once?

Reply to  DCSWIM
7 years ago

Not counting Katie Ledecky?

Reply to  iLikePsych
7 years ago

Yeah. You can’t count Ledecky because she’s superhuman.

Reply to  DCSWIM
7 years ago

Katie Hoff then.

X swimmer
Reply to  DINO
7 years ago

What about that last time a man did it, if it was ever done by one?

Reply to  X swimmer
7 years ago

X swimmer – it’s never been done by a man, because USA Swimming didn’t recognize American Records in this event until about a decade ago, where Erik Vendt got it. Clark Smith is actually the only swimmer to ever break the American Record in the 1000 free, at least by USA Swimming’s definition. Vendt set it, and Smith broke it. Similarly to how Katie Hoff was the only one to hold it before Ledecky did.

Reply to  DINO
7 years ago

And before that, I assume, Janet Evans, although USA Swimming’s record history for the 1000 starts in 2007. Because nobody swam the 1000 before Katie Hoff’s 9:10.

big calves
Reply to  DCSWIM
7 years ago

Tom Dolan

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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