Clark Smith Gives Eddie Reese “Chills” In 2000 Freestyle Time Trial

Clark Smith
Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Texas men’s swimming head coach Eddie Reese has seen a lot of great performances in a career spanning more than four decades. His athletes have set world and American records, made many Olympic teams and won NCAA titles by the truckload. Perhaps current sophomore Clark Smith’s performance Friday at a special time trial will rank among Reese’s top swims.

At the “Eddie Reese Invite” – open only to the Texas men’s swim team – athletes raced in 300 yards of each stroke, a 100 IM and a 2000 freestyle. It was that ultra-distance event that had the hairs on Reese’s neck stand on end.

Smith, the reigning NCAA champion in the 500 freestyle, uncorked a 17:44.39 in the 2000 free. Since it’s not an official event, it’s tough to compare the swim to anything else, but it is indeed fast. Smith averaged 53.22 per 100 yards, an astounding pace for such a long swim.

Consider this: Matias Koski averaged in the high-52 second range in winning the 1650 at last March’s NCAA championships. Smith’s per-100 average in his NCAA title swim in the 500 was 49.94.

“It gave me chills, and I’m definitely too old for chills,” Reese reportedly said after Smith’s swim.

Smith hasn’t raced the 1000 free yet this season, but is ranked first in the collegiate standings in the 500 free with a 4:21.95.

Though Smith’s swim was a major standout performance, three of his fellow NCAA champion teammates shined in the unofficial meet. Though he’s known for his butterfly prowess, especially after sweeping the butterfly events at the NCAA championships as a freshman, Joe Schooling put up an impressive 2:29.61 in the 300 freestyle to win by 11 seconds.

Jack Conger, the American record holder in the 200 fly, won the 300 fly with a 2:39.88. That would have been good enough to place second in the 300 freestyle race.

Will Licon, who made a major breakthrough at the NCAA meet with wins in the 400 IM and 200 breast, won the 300 breast with a very strong 2:57.89 and finished second in the 100 IM with a 49.09 behind Ryan Harty’s 48.86.

Schooling and Conger stepped up for a special 50 butterfly duel at the end of the meet. Conger took the win in 20.71 to Schooling’s 20.86.

The next sanctioned meet for the Longhorn men is in two weeks, when they travel east to take on North Carolina and North Carolina State.

7 comments

  1. Anne Harston

    Go Clark!!! This is awesome!

  2. Rahul Cheeniyil

    Hayley 17:44 how is that even possible???

  3. avatar
    Dana Abbott

    After last March, I keep wondering… Clark SMITH or… Clark KENT?

    • avatar
      Dana Abbott

      And to put it in a little more perspective? UCLA’s Brian Goodell’s American record 8:52.45 set at UT in 1979 is HALF of Clark’s 2000. So, young Mr. Smith did the previous American record in the 1000 TWICE in the same race. Can’t wait until March!