Michael Brinegar keeps getting faster, and now, he’s the nation’s all-time fastest high school swimmer in the 1,650-yard freestyle.
The Columbus native and Indiana University recruit swam 14 minutes, 35.35 seconds Saturday to win the event at the 2018 American Short Course Championships in Austin, Texas.
“I feel really good,” Brinegar said. “I did best time swimming by myself. In the mile, I wish I could have gone a little faster, but I’m still happy I was able to drop time.”
The time is the nation’s third fastest all-time for the 17-18-year-old age group.
The top two times came from college freshmen.
Brinegar’s time also is the fifth-best overall in U.S. this year behind one professional and three college swimmers. He beat his previous personal best of 14:37.71, which he swam in December to win the Winter Junior Nationals in Iowa City, Iowa.
Brinegar, who swims with the Mission Viejo (California) Nadadores club team, also won the 500 freestyle Thursday. His time of 4:19.30 is faster than Indiana High School state record, and five seconds faster than when he won the Indiana state championship as a freshman at Columbus North in 2015.
“I was pretty happy with it,” Brinegar said. “I wanted to go faster in by 500 and mile, but it was still really good being able to go best times for this meet.”
Brinegar also swim the 200 individual medley prelims on Thursday and qualified for the finals, but scratched so a teammate could swim in the finals, and the 400 IM prelims on Friday, but scratched in the finals to focus on the 1,650 freestyle.
Now, Brinegar is turning his attention to the California high school season. He will be competing for Tesoro High School for the first time.
“I think it will be a lot of fun,” Brinegar said. “It’s a really good team.”
Brinegar will miss Tesoro’s conference meet the final week in April and will miss two weeks of school to attend the National Junior Team Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
From there, he’ll go to the U.S. Open Water Championships May 4 to 6 in Tempe, Arizona, before returning for the California’s southern CIF championships.
Brinegar figures to swim the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay for Tesoro.
“My 200 time is still not that good,” Brinegar said. “There are some other kids in the 200 that can swim as fast or faster than I can, so it will be a challenge.”