Katie Ledecky Crushes 400 Free U.S. Open Record in Prelims

Photo by Griffin Scott

Editorial coverage for U.S. Senior Nationals proudly sponsored by Master Spas!

IRVINE, California, August 9.

Earlier this summer, when she blasted the world records in the 800 and 1500 freestyle events at The Woodlands Senior Invite, NCAP’s Katie Ledecky also managed to turn in a world-leading time of 4:03.09 in the 400-meter freestyle.  This morning, Ledecky stunned the crowd with a U.S. Open and meet record as she challenged both the world and American records in the event with a 3:59.89.  That time just missed Federica Pellegrini’s world record of 3:59.15 and Ledecky’s American record of 3:59.82, the top two times in history.  Ledecky is the only person to ever break 4:00 twice.

Incidentally, her time also betters her World Junior Record since her American record was posted prior to FINA actually recognizing World Junior Records.  Until a true FINA-supported list of best times by juniors throughout history is compiled, tracking WJRs gets to be a bit of a farce.  Ledecky has set two WJRs this week, both of which have faster times by junior swimmers even one by Ledecky herself.

Comparative Splits

Ledecky U.S. Open record:

28.25, 58.25 (30.00), 1:28.40 (30.15), 1:58.59 (30.19), 2:29.35 (30.76), 2:59.79 (30.44), 3:30.20 (30.41), 3:59.89 (29.69)


28.45, 58.66 (30.31), 1:28.97 (30.31), 1:59.42 (30.45), 2:29.66 (30.24), 2:59.93 (30.27), 3:29.79 (29.86), 3:59.15 (29.36)

Ledecky American record:

28.05, 58.12 (30.07), 1:28.25 (30.13), 1:58.74 (30.49), 2:28.85 (30.11), 2:59.29 (30.44), 3:29.94 (30.65), 3:59.82 (29.88)

Her time crushed the 4:02.20 U.S. Open record set by Katie Hoff in 2008 as well as Hoff’s 4:02.32 meet record from that year as well.  Ledecky’s effort also became the first time under 4:00 on American soil. Since she already is on the Pan Pacific team with her swims from earlier this week, Ledecky may just go for it as she really has nothing to lose in the finale.

Cavalier’s Leah Smith raced her way to a distant second in prelims with a 4:06.90.  That time bettered her 18th-ranked season best of 4:06.93 from the Potomac Valley Championships, but did not leapfrog Lotte Friis’ 4:06.83 from Santa Clara. NBAC’s Cierra Runge took third in 4:07.58.

Badger’s Lindsay Vrooman (4:07.82), BlueFish’s Elizabeth Beisel (4:08.07), NBAC’s Becca Mann (4:09.89), NBAC’s Gillian Ryan (4:10.93) and Aggie’s Sarah Henry (4:10.93) also made the finale.

In a stunner, NBAC’s Allison Schmitt had her worst swim of the meet with a 35th-place 4:17.82 as her chances to make the National Team ended this morning.

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Author: Jason Marsteller

Jason Marsteller is the general manager of digital properties at Swimming World. He joined Swimming World in June 2006 as the managing editor after previous stints as a media relations professional at Indiana University, the University of Tennessee, Southern Utah University and the Utah Summer Games.

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