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AUSTIN, Texas, January 18. IN a loaded finale, Katie Ledecky posted an in-season best by breaking 4:05 with a blazing time of 4:04.46 in the women's 400-meter free at the Arena Grand Prix in Austin. Her previous best time in-season came at the Mesa stop of the Arena Grand Prix last year with a 4:05.21 from last April.
This is the first time that Ledecky has broken 4:05 outside of the championship season, where she has an amazing lifetime best of 3:59.82 that is the best time in textile ever. Ledecky split the 400 free this evening 58.59, 1:00.93, 1:03.22, 1:01.72 en route to her 4:04.46. She dusted the rest of the field that was pretty loaded.
NBAC's Lotte Friis, the Danish swimmer now training in Baltimore after undercutting the 1500 free world record in Barcelona last year but finishing second to Ledecky, wound up a distant second this evening in 4:09.35.
IX3's Chloe Sutton, who is looking towards another Pan Pacific Championship year being a good omen, finished third in 4:12.11. Sutton's top effort at the international level is a gold medal in the 400 free at the Pan Pacific Championships in 2010.
Longhorn's Quinn Carrazzo raced to fourth in 4:14.66, while Canada's Savannah King earned fifth in 4:15.91. Isabella Rongione, just 14, who recently moved to NCAP to train with Ledecky after previously swimming with The Fish, placed sixth in 4:16.02. She just missed her lifetime best of 4:15.79.
North Carolina's Madison Homovich, a 13-year-old to watch out for, took seventh in 4:16.22. That's another lifetime best, beating the 4:17.12 she clocked this morning. Heading into the day, Homovich had never broken 4:20. NCAP's Megan Byrnes rounded out the championship field with a 4:19.04.
Lakeside's Leah Stevens claimed the B final going away with a 4:16.10. The closest finisher was Frisco's Gabrielle Kopenski with a 4:18.20, which still managed to shave a few seconds off her lifetime best of 4:21.29.