NISCA All-American Showcase: Jeff Kostoff, Janet Evans are Icons of the 500 Free

PHOENIX, Arizona, July 14. AS part of our 11-day series highlighting the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association’s release of the 2013-14 All-America lists, Swimming World will also be looking at the history of each event that is part of the high school schedule. Today, we’re looking at the 500-yard free. Upland’s Jeff Kostoff and El Dorado’s Janet Evans posted some of the most iconic and historic swims in high school history with their performances in the middle-distance event.

It took 30 full years for someone to dethrone Kostoff as the top 500-yard freestyler in high school history. Kostoff’s amazing 4:16.39 from 1983 was only truly threatened once in those 30 years before Jack Conger came along with a stunning 4:13.87 in 2013. Other than Larsen Jensen’s scorching 4:16.93 from 2003, only seven of those years had a swimmer even break 4:20.

Kostoff set the mark at the CIF 3A High School Championships in Monterey Park, Calif. At the time, his swim stood as the American record, and he became the first high school male since Andy Coan in 1974 to set an American record at a high school meet. He split the race 50.59, 1:42.35, 2:33.78, 3:24.91 and 4:16.39.

“You can’t really hear the noise in the water,” Kostoff said about the crowd rising to its feet in support of his record at the time. “But I felt it. I could feel the surge from the fans and I also could tell John Mykkanen was gaining on me too.” Mykkanen actually wound up posting a 4:19.46 to take second in the race, still ahead of its time.

Kostoff’s swim is still so far ahead of its time, that he would have ranked first on the NISCA All-American lists this year ahead of Sam McHugh’s 4:16.76.

1974 4:31.8, Mike Bruner, Lincoln
1975, 4:23.40, Tim Shaw, Wilson
1976, 4:29.04, Brian Goodell, Mission Viejo
1977, 4:20.81, Brian Goodell, Mission Viejo
1978, 4:23.41, Ed Ryder, Mission Viejo
1979, 4:23.09, Andy Schmidt, Mission Viejo
1980, 4:24.59, Mike Brown, Mission Viejo
1981, 4:27.87, Matt Cetlinski, Cardinal Newman
1982, 4:21.34, Jeff Kostoff, Upland
1983, 4:16.39, Jeff Kostoff, Upland
1984, 4:23.92, Dan Jorgensen, Mission Viejo
1985, 4:19.47, Dan Jorgensen, Mission Viejo
1986, 4:22.48, David Wharton, Germantown
1987, 4:24.64, Luis Morell, Spanish River
1988, 4:23.51, Steven Herron, Lake Washington
1989, 4:25.29, Chad Hundeby, Woodbridge
1990, 4:24.95, Greg Burgess, Bolles School
1991, 4:20.86, Eric Diehl, Mission Viejo
1992, 4:21.10, Chad Carvin, Laguna Hills
1993, 4:23.77, Kent Johnson, Jesuit
1994, 4:26.02, Wes Oliver, Sammamish
1995, 4:23.06, Wes Oliver, Sammamish
1996, 4:25.16, Steven Brown, Reno
1997, 4:25.14, Steven Brown, Reno
1998, 4:21.10, Tim Sicilliano, San Marcos
1999, 4:21.95, Ian Prichard, Buena
2000, 4:19.34, Ian Prichard, Buena
2001, 4:21.32, Fran Crippen, Germantown
2002, 4:19.54, Fran Crippen, Germantown
2003, 4:16.93, Larsen Jensen, Mission Viejo
2004, 4:24.11, JK Koehler, Springfield Catholic Central
2005, 4:19.41, Michael Klueh, Bowie
2006, 4:23.38, Mark Dylla, Heritage
2007, 4:20.56, David Mosko, Saint Xavier
2008, 4:22.84, Charlie Rimkus, Beckman
2009, 4:19.32, Will Freeman, Great Atlanta Christian
2010, 4:19.79, Kyle Whitaker, Chesterton
2011, 4:17.29, Nicholas Caldwell, Riverview
2012, 4:17.96, Arthur Frayler, Germantown
2013, 4:13.87, Jack Conger, Our Lady of Good Counsel
2014, 4:16.76, Sam McHugh, Baylor School

The 1980s also featured one of the most amazing women’s 500-yard frees of all time as well. In 1988, Olympic gold medalist Evans blasted her way to a 4:37.30 at the CIF Southern Section 3A Championships. The performance broke Kim Brown’s high school record of 4:40.04 by nearly three seconds, and it would take that type of effort to finally take down Evans’ record 18 years later.

Evans’ swim, like Kostoff’s, proved to be nearly bulletproof for a very long time. Outside of her own 4:38.34 from 1989, only Janelle Atkinson (4:37.91, 2000) and Kaitlin Sandeno (4:39.64, 2001) managed to break 4:40 in the event until Kate Ziegler came along. Ziegler, who tested out the record with a 4:37.67 in 2005, finally supplanted Evans in 2006 with a stunning 4:33.35 in 2006. That record also stood for a few years as an American record before Katie Ledecky took it to another stratosphere with back-to-back swims of 4:31.38 and 4:28.71 in 2013 and earlier this year.

Evans’ record time would still do well even in today’s landscape. Although it’s still well off Ledecky’s astonishing American record from earlier this year, Evans would have finished second in the NISCA All-American lists in 2014. Her time is faster than Courtney Harnish’s 4:40.04 swum as a freshman for West York Area High in Pennsylvania.

1974, 4:54.5, Shirley Babashoff, Fountain Valley
1975, 4:58.79, Jo Harshbarger, Newport
1976, 4:56.61, Brenda Borgh, Marple Newtown
1977, 4:51.60, Alice Browne, Corona Del Mar
1978, 4:44.60, Jennifer Hooker, Mission Viejo
1979, 4:46.96, Jennifer Hooker, Mission Viejo
1980, 4:42.07, Cynthia Woodhead, Riverside Poly
1981, 4:41.30, Marybeth Linzemeier, Mission Viejo
1982, 4:42.50, Cynthia Woodhead, Mission Viejo
1983, 4:45.25, Tiffany Cohen, Mission Viejo
1984, 4:41.23, Tiffany Cohen, Mission Viejo
1985, 4:40.04, Kim Brown, Mission Viejo
1986, 4:43.25, Kim Brown, Mission Viejo
1987, 4:42.22, Janet Evans, El Dorado
1988, 4:37.30, Janet Evans, El Dorado
1989, 4:38.34, Janet Evans, El Dorado
1990, 4:44.77, Jane Skillman, Peddie School
1991, 4:45.07, Jane Skillman, Peddie School
1992, 4:44.75, Sarah Anderson, California
1993, 4:44.50, Sarah Anderson, California
1994, 4:43.79, Trina Jackson, Bolles School
1995, 4:43.27, Trina Jackson, Bolles School
1996, 4:46.97, Jessica Foschi, Friends Academy
1997, 4:43.37, Ginny Johnson, Bolles School
1998, 4:44.54, Ashley Whitney, Bolles School
1999, 4:40.10, Janelle Atkinson, Bolles School
2000, 4:37.91, Janelle Atkinson, Bolles School
2001, 4:39.64, Kaitlin Sandeno, El Toro
2002, 4:42.75, Adrienne Binder, San Marcos
2003, 4:45.57, Hayley Peirsol, Newport Harbor
2004, 4:40.93, Elizabeth Hill, Westminster
2005, 4:37.67, Kate Ziegler, Bishop Denis J. O’Connell
2006, 4:33.35, Kate Ziegler, Bishop Denis J. O’Connell
2007, 4:42.20, Alyssa Anderson, Granite Bay
2008, 4:42.61, Ashley Evans, Pinnacle
2009, 4:34.78, Dagny Knutson, Minot
2010, 4:41.63, Stephanie Peacock, Bishop Verot Catholic
2011, 4:39.17, Lauren Driscoll, American Heritage
2012, 4:38.05, Chelsea Chenault, Carondelet
2013, 4:31.38, Katie Ledecky, Stone Ridge
2014, 4:28.71, Katie Ledecky, Stone Ridge

2013-14 NISCA Girls High School All-Americans

2013-14 NISCA Boys High School All-Americans

NOTE: All America times have to be submitted to NISCA by a certain deadline in order to make the 2014 All-American list. Coaches can submit times here: Corrections can also be submitted to NISCA via three emails: Boys Swimming contact:; Girls Swimming contact:; Boys and Girls Diving contact:

This is the seventh day of what will be an 11-day showcase of the NISCA All-American program. Swimming World is proud to partner with NISCA to provided a global spotlight on high school swimming in the U.S., and will be talking to some of the top movers and shakers in high school swimming this week as part of the Morning Swim Show. Additionally, we’ll be taking a look back at some of the best of the best high school swimmers historically.

To access high school All-Americans all the way back through 1974, purchase back issues of Swimming World Magazine!

For more incredible high school content, make sure to subscribe to Swimming World TODAY to make sure you get our High School Swimmers of the Year (August) and High School National Champions of the Year (September) issues.

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Author: Jason Marsteller

Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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