Connor Jaeger apparently let his mind wander a little too much Sunday morning at the U.S. Olympic Swimming trials in the 1,500-meter freestyle.
Jaeger placed second in his heat. But instead of reaching out to touch the timing pad with his hand, he did a flip turn and kept swimming, according to NBC Sports.
“I lost count (of how many laps I had left) and never heard the bell,” Jaeger said. “I didn’t want to risk it so I just kept swimming.”
An official with a lap counter often stands at the end of every lane, and at Grand Prix and collegiate meets they dunk the sign in the water to help the swimmers keep track, NBC Sports notes.
At trials, though, officials are not permitted to put the signs in the water, to avoid activating the timing pad. Swimmers are forced to keep a mental count.
Failing that, lane officials also ring a bell when each swimmer has one lap left.
Jaeger lost count and apparently didn’t hear the bell.
After his unnecessary flip turn, Jaeger swam another 50 meters before realizing his race had already ended, NBC Sports notes.
“On the last 50 I was pretty sure I was supposed to stop,” he said. “I turned around and looked and the counter didn’t even have their counter up anymore. I saw Peter Vanderkaay on the wall, and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m supposed to stop.’ ”
Despite the gaffe, Jaeger’s time of 14 minutes, 59.97 seconds was the second-fastest of the morning, according to NBC Sports.