Video by Mel Stewart
Report by Hannah Hecht
Clark Smith posted a 4:08.82 in the 500 freestyle tonight at the University of Texas Invitational, breaking Cristian Quintero‘s Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center pool record of 4:10.02 and Michael Klueh‘s Longhorn record of 4:09.32. His swim was the fourth-fastest in history, just missing the American record 4:08.54 set by Peter Vanderkaay back in 2008.
Smith hit the wall nearly six seconds ahead of the second place swimmer, teammate Townley Haas, who swam a 4:14.07.
Both the pool record and Klueh’s school record are huge accomplishments. The Texas Swimming Center has stood since 1977, playing host to eight NCAA Division I Championships, including the meet two years ago in 2014. The pool has also been the host of multiple Grand Prix and Pro Swim Series meets, so its records are some of the fastest in the country.
Smith’s swim tonight was only slower than Vanderkaay’s 4:08.54 in 2008, Vanderkaay’s 4:08.60 in 2006, and Tom Dolan‘s 4:08.75 in 1995.
Smith, a junior, was reportedly shaved and tapered for this meet, but we can only expect him to go even faster, perhaps taking down Vanderkaay’s record, come March at NCAA’s, where his Texas team will be the defending champions. With times like this, hopefully this will even foreshadow an amazing swim from Smith in the 400 distance this summer in Omaha.
Check here for live results from the Texas Invitational as the meet goes on.