PHOENIX, Arizona, February 11. THERE really isn’t any suspense over who was selected for our performance of the week, so let’s get right to it.
On Friday evening in Georgetown, Maryland, Katie Ledecky broke the American record in the 500-yard freestyle with a 4:28.71. She did it in the prelims of the event at the DC Metro high school championships, and did it in spectacular fashion. At the 200-yard mark, Ledecky flipped at 1:44.97 after a 51.15 opening 100. 1:44.97. That was just 2.6 seconds slower than she would swim to win the actual 200 freestyle the next day, which is not atypical of Ledecky but is still a gutsy move. She would hold 54.5, 54.8 and 54.4 on her three remaining 100-yard splits to break the American record of 4:30.47 set by Katie Hoff in 2007.
At last December’s nationals, Ledecky went after the American record in the 500, but couldn’t keep up the pace. She now has the American record in the 500 and 1650 freestyles, and one wonders if and when she’ll go after Hoff’s record in the 1000 free.
Since the swim was done in a high school championship, Ledecky broke her own national high school record in the event, marking the second time in eight years the women’s 500 free American record and national high school record have been set in the same race. Interestingly, it was Kate Ziegler who did that, and she did it at the DC Metro championships.
Congratulations, Katie, you’ve very much earned our Speedo Performance of the Week.