A New Day For Distance Swimming: American, US Open Record For Connor Jaeger In 1650 Free At USA Swimming Nationals

Photo Courtesy: David Farr

GREEENSBORO – Perhaps Katie Ledecky’s American record in the 1650 free gave Connor Jaeger a bit of a boost, or perhaps he felt it was going to happen when he woke up this morning. But no matter the reason, Jaeger now owns an American record with an astonishing 14:23.52.

The 1650 freestyle men’s American record has been viewed as the Mount Everest of swimming. Since Chris Thompson’s 14:26.62 in 2001, it’s been the lofty goal of every elite swimmer. Many got within reach, and until 2012, no one was able to match Thompson’s powerful final 50 yards. At the 2012 NCAAs, German-born Martin Grodzki posted a 14:24.08 for a U.S. Open record, with Chad La Tourette right behind at 14:24.35 for an American record. In that epic race was Jaeger, then a sophomore at Michigan on the verge of a breakthrough.

That breakthrough came later when he made the Olympic team in the 1500 free, and has continued to increase to tonight, where he applied the same race strategy as Ledecky: build on the race and sneak up on the record pace at the 1000-yard mark. For about 200 yards, Jaeger couldn’t get within a second of La Tourette’s pace, but then something happened at the 1400-yard mark. Where others slowed down to prepare to attack the final 50, Jaeger kept his pace strong. He got under La Tourette’s pace and never lost it.

Jaeger’s splits, by 100 yards:
50.62
52.95 (1:43.57)
53.18 (2:36.75)
52.14 (3:28.89)
52.33 (4:21.22)
52.64 (5:13.86)
52.52 (6:06.38)
52.80 (6:59.18)
52.87 (7:52.05)
52.89 (8:44.94)
52.86 (9:37.80)
52.99 (10:30.79)
52.74 (11:23.53)
52.36 (12:15.89)
51.97 (13:07.86)
51.54 (13:59.40)
14:23.52 (final 50: 24.12)

Swimming in lane one in the fastest timed-final heat, Ryan Feeley of Badger, one of Jaeger’s training partners in Ann Arbor, got second with a 14:44.75. That’s a lifetime best for the 23-year-old open water specialist. True Sweetser, the 17-year-old who swam in lane four in the 500 free final, capped off a great meet with a third-place time of 14:49.43 from an earlier heat. Another 17-year-old, Townley Haas of NOVA of Virginia, was fourth with a 14:49.49.

Rounding out the top eight were: Jordan Wilimovsky of Northwestern (14:51.10), Matthew Hirschberger of Nation’s Capital (14:51.81), Andrew Gemmell of Nation’s Capital (14:52.93) and PJ Ransford of Michigan (14:55.17).

1 Comment

1 comment

  1. avatar

    Take THAT, Mr. Sun!

    You’re gonna have to go sub-14:00.0 to beat THIS guy next summer — and you’ll have to do it WITHOUT your “joy juice” too!

    First time “mile’s” been broken by BOTH sexes in same meet since…? Probably not for 30-40 years I’d say.

    Wonder if Katie’d consider giving Jaeger a 100-yard head start in a match race? Seems only fair!

Author: Jeff Commings

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Jeff Commings is the Senior Writer for SwimmingWorld.com and Swimming World Magazine. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and was a nine-time NCAA All-American.

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