2022 U.S. Nationals: Jake Magahey Holds off Olympic Trio in Men’s 400 Freestyle ‘Time to Make a Statement’ (VIDEOS)

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

2022 U.S. Nationals: Jake Magahey Holds off Olympic Trio in Men’s 400 Freestyle Finals

The 2022 Phillips 66 U.S. National Championships continued in Irvine, California, with the men’s 400 freestyle — and it’s loaded field.

While several events were missing some of their top stars, the men’s 400 freestyle was loaded with three Olympians, a national champion and NCAA champion.

In the end, it was Jake Magahey who held off a trio of Olympians to claim the national championship in the 400 freestyle. Magahey accelerated down the stretch as he tried to hold off Jake Mitchell, and he touched the wall in 3:46.36, just two tenths ahead of Mitchell. Magahey, the NCAA champion in the 500-yard free in 2021 and the runner-up in the event this season, swam his best time by two seconds. This meet has been the most successful long course performance of his career after he didn’t qualify for any finals at last year’s Olympic Trials. Earlier in the week, Magahey took third in the 200 free in 1:46.62, also a personal best.

“I was just trying to get into the groove in the first 200. I have had trouble matching my 400 with my 500-short-course, so I thought, ‘Just swim it like a 500,’ so I set my stroke up and after that, just went from there. I feel like that really helped me,” Jake Magahey said. “I am happy with the swim.”

The national title was a big step for Magahey, who was disappointed in how last year went, missing out on the Olympic team.

“Last year, I feel like I left a lot on the table. I was disappointed. I wanted to show my full potential,” he said. “To be honest, I really didn’t get back to normal until this summer. I had a minor (pectoral) injury that lingered from December to March, which is why I took off from International Team Trials. I knew nationals would be my big meet and time to make a statement.”

Olympian Jake Mitchell, who qualified for the Tokyo Games in a solo time trial swim to reach the A cut at trials, finished second in 3:46.59. Mitchell was a little over a second his best time of 3:45.38 set last year, but he has also looked strong this week in his first championship meet since moving his training to Gainesville, Fla.

“It is good. I am happy to be back. A couple of months ago, I wasn’t sure how my summer was going to go,” Mitchell said. “It has been super fun (training at Florida). I am really happy to be a part of what they have down there. The distance group definitely pushes you every day.

“There are definitely things I did well in that time trial. It is a good reminder of what I can do.”

Two other Florida Gators finished third and fourth, with 400 free Olympic bronze medalist Kieran Smith third in 3:48.48 and Bobby Finke fourth in 3:48.99.

Smith was in first place for most of the race, but he fell off the pace over the last 100 meters as Magahey and Mitchell surged ahead.

David Johnston finished fifth (3:49.69), followed by Will Gallant (3:49.83), Luke Hobson (3:49.95) and Nicholas Caruso (3:51.36).

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