Texas junior Clark Smith broke a near eight-year-old American swimming record Saturday night in the 1,000-yard freestyle.
His time of 8 minutes, 33.93 broke the previous record of 8:36.49 set by former Southern California star Erik Vendt, who set the standard in January, 2008.
“We talked about this for about six months and he wanted to go for it,” UT coach Eddie Reese said. “Those are hard records to get. A great distance swimmer held that American record, Erik Vendt. It happened in the era of the big tech suits, and so to break one of those long records was really hard to do. That’s as hard as he’s ever worked in a race.”
Smith’s time also bested the NCAA record of 8:43.48 previously owned by former Longhorn Michael McBroom, who swam the time two years ago.
Smith very nearly broke the NCAA record in the 500 free two days ago. He’s the defending NCAA champion in the event. He didn’t swim the at last season’s national meet, but now plans to do so.
Smith is the son of two former Longhorn swimming champions.
Father John Smith was a member of UT’s winning 400 medley relay in 1984.
Mother Tori Trees Smith was a 1984 Olympian backstroker. She was the 1985 NCAA champion in the 200 backstroke.