BOYDS, Maryland, February 8. OLYMPIC gold medalist Katie Ledecky shot down the national high school record in the 500-yard freestyle event tonight at the 2013 Metro Championships. Ledecky is swimming her sophomore year as a member of the Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart.
Ledecky turned on the heat in the event during prelims with a sizzling effort of 4:33.14 (51.85, 1:46.86 (55.01), 2:42.10 (55.24), 3:38.21 (56.11), 4:33.14 (54.93)), coming home in under 55 seconds in the final 100 yards.
That performance downed Kate Ziegler's 2006 mark of 4:33.35 set for Bishop O'Connell. That time had stood as both the overall and the independent school record. Dagny Knutson's time of 4:34.78 for Minot from 2008 still stands as the national public school standard.
The question now is whether her time can stand up to an attempt by fellow Olympic gold medalist Missy Franklin as she competes for Regis Jesuit in Colorado this weekend.
Ledecky's time cut more than a second from her previous personal best of 4:34.53 in the event from the 2012 USA Swimming Winter National Championships in November of last year, and shot her to sixth all time in the event's history. Only Katie Hoff (4:30.47), Knutson (4:31.18), Allison Schmitt (4:32.71), Ziegler (4:32.71) and Sarah Henry (4:33.07) have been faster.
The performance also gave Ledecky her third 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record, downing Hoff's previous standard of 4:34.21 set back in 2006. Ledecky now owns the 500, 1000 and 1650-yard freestyle NAGs for 15-16 age division. She appears three other times in the yards NAG record book. She still owns the 13-14 records in the 500 and 1000 free, while helping Nation's Capital Swim Club to the 15-16 relay record in the 800-yard free relay.
It's been an amazing year as a 15-year-old thus far for Ledecky, as she made her biggest impact with a stunning gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Games.
Notably, Swimming World High School Swimmer of the Year Jack Conger also swam during prelims of the 500-yard free tonight, turning in a strong 4:20.56. He will be shooting for Jeff Kostoff's 1983 record of 4:16.39 set for Upland High in California.