Bobby Finke did the unthinkable Saturday night during the 1500-meter freestyle final at the Tokyo Olympics in Japan.
The 1500-meter is widely recognized as one of the most difficult swim events. It takes grueling consistency and immense effort – and not just in the final lap or two. Somehow, Finke made it look easy during the final lap.
After 14 minutes of swimming, the 21-year-old found himself trailing Germany’s Florian Wellbrock and Ukraine’s Mykhailo Romanchuk heading toward the final turn. Finke made the most of it, using a strong kick to pull himself close to the top two. Then, the miraculous happened. Finke turned on another gear during the final lap, pulling ahead of both Romanchuk and Wellbrock to win gold. He finished the race – all 30 lengths of the pool – in 14:39.65.
This was one of the best Olympic races we’ve seen in years. Take a look at the finish, via NBC.
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) August 1, 2021
Here’s another look, which includes terrific commentary Rowdy Gaines and Dan Hicks of NBC Sports.
"I have never, ever, *ever* seen anything like this in my life." – @RowdyGaines
"It's like he's got a gear…somehow, Bobby Finke passes them again down the stretch." – @DanHicksNBC
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) August 1, 2021
Consistency was without a doubt the key to Bobby Finke’s incredible race. He clocked in at 29.25 and 29.83 seconds in the first 28 lengths of the pool. The 21-year-old then needed just 28.6 seconds on the second-to-last lap before closing the final lap in an incredible 25.78 seconds, per Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post.
The 1,500 free consists of 30 lengths of the pool. Finke swam each of the first 28 lengths between 29.25 and 29.83 seconds — amazing consistency.
Then, the hammer: 28.60 from the bell to the final wall.
And 25.78 to close.
A double gold-medal winner, both with insane closes.
— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) August 1, 2021
Bobby Finke has a long career ahead of him. Even the legendary Katie Ledecky couldn’t help but praise Finke for his incredible race. The two USA swimmers swept the 800m/1500m finals.
Take a look.
— Katie Ledecky (@katieledecky) August 1, 2021
Congratulations on an excellent race, Bobby Finke! You made USA proud.