INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, June 28. WITH reigning Olympic silver medalist Allison Schmitt scratching the rest of the meet to refocus on the future, the women's 400-meter freestyle definitely proved to be wide open this evening at the U.S. Nationals and World Championship Trials.
Nation's Capital's Katie Ledecky, already with the 800-meter freestyle victory from earlier in the week, smoked the finale of the middle-distance event as she touched in 4:04.05, taking advantage of that opening. That swim clipped the 16-year-old's lifetime best of 4:04.34, the split from her epic 800-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics.
That Olympic split just so happened to be the 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record as well, which has now been lowered. Ledecky also already stood third in the world with a 4:05.21 from the Mesa stop of the Arena Grand Prix, and tonight's time didn't change that position. But, she's definitely closer to the 4:02.64 from Camille Muffat and the 4:03.52 from Bronte Barratt.
Mission Viejo's Chloe Sutton, who recently signed a multi-year deal with TYR, raced into second with a 4:06.64 for her second spot on the World Championship roster headed to Barcelona. She's likely saving some up for Barcelona, as she threw down a 4:04.18 lifetime best just a year ago at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
1 Ledecky, Katie 16 Nation's Capital 4:07.32 4:04.05 940 20
r:+0.71 28.48 58.91 (30.43)
1:29.53 (30.62) 2:00.05 (30.52)
2:31.24 (31.19) 3:02.13 (30.89)
3:33.38 (31.25) 4:04.05 (30.67)
2 Sutton, Chloe 21 Mission Viejo Na 4:09.78 4:06.64 911 17
r:+0.73 28.96 59.54 (30.58)
1:30.55 (31.01) 2:01.55 (31.00)
2:32.96 (31.41) 3:04.31 (31.35)
3:35.71 (31.40) 4:06.64 (30.93)
Open water champion Haley Anderson of Trojan rounded out the top three in 4:09.60, while NBAC's Gillian Ryan finished fourth in 4:10.19.
Terrapins' Chelsea Chenault (4:10.79), Indiana's Lindsay Vrooman (4:11.16), JCC's Leah Smith (4:11.96) and Clearwater's Becca Mann (4:14.02) also vied for the national title.
Clovis' Tristin Baxter threw down a final 50 meters with a 30.20 to win the B final in 4:11.15. That's her first time under 4:12 as she lowered her lifetime best of 4:12.19 from the 2010 Junior Pan Pacific Championships.
Sarasota's Y's Danielle Valley put together a winning time of 4:14.09 in the C final. That performance is a lifetime best, lowering her previous effort of 4:14.77 from the 2012 Junior Pan Pacifics. That's now her third summer in a row with a 4:14, having clocked a 4:14.78 at the 2011 Junior Nationals.