Bobby Finke Bio – SwimSwam

Bobby Finke is a two-time Olympic gold medalist from the 2020 Olympic Games and 2022 World Champion.

Background

Robert Christian Finke was born in Tampa, Florida on November 6, 1999. Swimming is truly a family affair for the Finkes, as Mom, Jeanne, swam for Ball State and Father, Joe, is a swim coach with St Pete Aquatics. Finke has two older sisters: Autumn Skye Finke who swam for the University of Florida and Ariel Summer Finke who swims for Florida State University. All three kids qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials.

Early Success

As a 14 year old age grouper, Finke broke the Florida Age Group State Championships (Flags) 800m freestyle meet record with a time of 8:25.20, And then broke the 1500m freestyle meet record dropping over 15 seconds to race to a 15:56.82.

Finke won the USA Swimming Open Water Junior Nationals by finishing first of all swimmers 18 years old and younger. Additionally, because everyone swims at once, Finke was seventh overall in a field that included the pro open water swimmers as well as collegiate swimmers.

Finke was ranked as the #7 recruit in SwimSwam’s Way Too Early NCAA Recruit Ranks for the class of 2018, and #12 in the Re-rank. On October 13, 2017, Finke announced his verbal commitment to swim at the University of Florida.

College (Florida)

2018-2019

Finke was an immediate impact athlete for Florida. At the 2019 SEC Championships, he started things by placing 9th and winning the B-heat in the 500 free (4:14.86). The next night, he led a 1-2-3 Gator sweep in the 400 IM, taking the crown in 3:40.94. To cap off his meet, he led a 1-2 finish in the 1,650 with teammate and fellow freshman Trey Freeman, touching at 14:23.01 to break the SEC Championships and pool record.

At the NCAA Championships, Finke finished 12th in the 1,650 (14:42.75), 25th in the 400 IM (3:45.40), and 43rd in the 500 free (4:20.14).

2019-2020

Last season, Finke won the mile as a freshman at SEC’s with a new SEC Record, narrowly missing the NCAA Record in the process. After he smashed his best in the 500 free (4:10.8) to take bronze on Wednesday, the 1650 free record was on notice tonight. He blew away the field to become the fastest man in history, repeating as champion in 14:12.08.

FINKE’S NCAA, U.S. Open and American Record 1650 splits – 14:12.08 – Feb 22, 2020, SEC Champs

49.17 49.17 1:40.44 51.27 2:32.04 51.6 3:23.68 51.64 4:15.28 51.60 5:07.19 51.91 5:58.91 51.72 6:50.85 51.94 7:42.88 52.03 8:34.63 52.75 9:26.87 52.24 10:18.80 51.93 11:10.88 52.08 12:03.00 52.12 12:55.07 52.07 13:46.99 51.92 14:12 25.09

2020-2021

During his junior year at the SEC Championships, Finke placed 5th in the 500 free (4:13.48), 2nd in the 400 IM (3:39.15), and defended his title in the 1650, nearly breaking his record from the year prior with a 14:12.18.

At the 2021 NCAA Championships, Finke won the 400 IM (3:36.90) and 1650 (14:12.52). He also placed 6th in the 500 free (4:11.11) and swam on Florida’s 4th place 800 free relay.

2021-2022

His senior season, Finke tested positive for COVID-19 just before the SEC Championships, rendering him out of competition.

At the 2022 NCAA Championships, Finke successfully defended his national title in the 1650, winning in a time of 14:22.28. Finke also placed 10th in the 500 free (4:11.74) and 4th in the 400 IM (3:36.83).

Training with Katie Ledecky

In the fall of 2021, Katie Ledecky moved her training base down to Gainesville, meaning that both Olympic champions in the 800 and 1500 would be going head-to-head in practices. This is what one of those practices looked like:

National/International Competition

At the 2016 Orlando Arena Pro Swim Series, Finke qualified for the USA Olympic Trials in the 1500m freestyle with a time of 15:46.39 finishing 10th overall. He placed third in the 400IM racing to a 4:23.66, picking up an Olympic Trials cut in that event. He also finished 17th in the 400m freestyle clocking a 3:57.22.

2017 US Nationals/World Championship Trials

Finke qualified for his first World Championships after he won the silver medal in the 1,500 meter freestyle. He swam a new best time of 15:01.31 to secure his place on the roster. At the world championships, Finke placed 21st overall in the 1,500 free at 15:15.15.

2018 U.S. National Championships

Finke was the runnerup in the 1500 freestyle (14:55.34) and third in the 800 freestyle (7:51.45) at the Phillips 66 National Championships, recording personal bests in both events. He also finished first in the B final of the 400 IM (4:15.79, ninth overall) and 17th in the 400 freestyle (personal best 3:52.25).

2018 Pan Pacific Championships

Finke swam a full schedule in Tokyo after qualifying for Pan Pacs. He placed 3rd in the 1,500 with a time of 14:48.70, however since he finished behind 2 other Americans, was not awarded a medal. He also finished 5th in the 800 free (7:52.57) and 8th in prelims in the 400 free (3:51.23).

2019 Summer Nationals

After initially qualifying for World University Games, Finke pulled out due to a wrist injury. He did, however, compete at the 2019 US Nationals. He won titles in the 1,500 (14:51.15), 400 IM (4:13.15), 800 free (7:47.58), and placed 3rd in the 400 free (3:48.17).

2021 Olympic Trials

On night 5, Finke touched 1st in the 800 free, qualifying for his first Olympic team. He added to his event schedule by winning the 1,500 on the final night of competition, cruising to a win in 14:46.06, beating the field by over 14 seconds.

2020 Olympic Games

Finke put an exclamation mark on his first Olympic final, winning the first-ever Olympic iteration of the men’s 800 free. Finke was running 5th for most of the race, even at the 750 mark. Then he turned on the jets, coming home in 26.3 and passing 4 competitors in the last 25 meters to touch first and earn Olympic gold.

Finke did it again in the 1500, sticking with the pack through the whole race and turning it on the last 50, coming home in 25.7 in the last 50 to touch first at 14:39.65, earning his 2nd gold of the Games and the first for USA in the 1500 since 1984.

2022 World Championship Trials

On night 1 in Greensboro, Finke qualified for his 2nd world champion team, winning the 1500 free in 14:45.72. 2 nights later, he placed 3rd in the 400 IM, going a PB of 4:10.57 and missing 2nd by just .07.

Finke finished the meet by winning the 800 easily, topping the field in 7:43.42

2022 World Championships

Finke started his campaign in Budapest with the 800 free, moving through the heats and qualifying 6th heading into the final. In the final, Finke used the same strategy he did in Tokyo, staying in range of the field for the first 750 meters, then blasting a 25.9 final 50 to pass 3 competitors and top the podium in an American record of 7:39.36.

Finke didn’t make it a clean sweep like he did in Tokyo, however. In the 1500 final, Paltrinieri was out so far ahead of the field that Finke’s patented closing speed couldn’t even catch him. However, Finke did clock a huge personal best, 14:36.70, to touch just .24 ahead of Florian Wellbrock for silver and break Connor Jeager’s American record.

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