2015 Arena Pro Swim Series Mesa: Day One Finals Live Recap

Apr 25, 2014; Mesa, AZ, USA; Michael Phelps dives into the pool for the 50m freestyle prelims during the Arena Grand Prix at Skyline Aquatic Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Editorial content for the 2015 Arena Pro Swim Series Mesa is sponsored by Arena. For full Swimming World coverage, check out our coverage page.

The first night of competition at the Arena Pro Swim Series Mesa is underway in Arizona.  Katie Ledecky is the one to watch as she looks to batter the field in the women’s 1500-meter free. Hit refresh for the latest coverage.

Women’s 1500 free

World Record holder, Katie Ledecky of Nation’s Capital Swim Club, lead from start to finish to win in 15:42.23, good enough for 5th fastest all time. The other four fastest swims? Three are Ledecky’s and other one is Lotte Fris from Denmark/NBAC at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

Kristel Kobrich of Chile finished in second with a time of 16:26.95, and 13-year old Madelyn Donohoe from The Fish finishes third in 16:44.01.

Men’s 800 free

Marcelo Acosta of the University of Louisville won the 800 free with a very controlled race in 8:10.85.

Nick Norman and Daniel O’Connor of the Mission Viejo Nadadores took second and third in 8:11.14 and 8:12.76, respectively.

O’Connor took control of the race early, but Norman and Acosta reeled him in down the stretch and Acosta out raced Norman for the win at the end.


  • Women’s 1500 free
  • Men’s 800 free





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8 years ago

This was a truly remarkable midseason swim; Katie is so good it almost slips by underplayed, both at the meet and in the media.

As noted in the article, the swim was the 5th fastest all time, far faster than any previous Grand Prix/Pro Series swim. But it was really more than that, being done in a midweek distance only, timed final session almost devoid of crowd energy, as, from observing the webcast, it seemed the crowd was never informed and likely had no idea how wonderful was the effort they were watching. Further, Ledecky was swimming in an outdoor tank, with the weatherman reporting wind gusts up to 25 mph.

Of the 4 faster times, 2 were by Ledecky in season ending meets (2013 Worlds, 2014 Pan Pacifics (WR), likely on full rest), with a third by Lotte Friis who swam on Katie’s hip the entire race at the 2013 Worlds, again, likely on full rest. The 4th was by Ledecky last June in Shenandoah, Texas in a meet where she surely had to be prepared to swim quite well, as she broke the world record at the 1500 distance (later surpassed by her at Pan Pacs in the recognized world swim of the year) and followed it 3 days later with an 800 WR which still stands. Interestingly, Friis is entered in the meet, but was not in the 1500 for some reason.

The swim she pushed out of the 5th spot on the all time performance list was a 15:42.54 from Kate Ziegler, which had lasted 6 years as the world record, from 2007 until Ledecky’s 2013 Barcelona WC mark. Ziegler’s mark had broken a 19 year old WR from Janet Evans at 15:52.10 from 1988.

Ledecky negative split her race, 7:51.39 at 750, 7:50.84 from 750 to 1500.

With most of the world swim powers having trial meets in the last month to select their teams for the Kazan World Championships, world rankings for 2015 have taken on significantly greater credibility at this point of the year. Ledecky’s swim crushed the previous world #1 swim of 16:06.72 by former Cal Golden Bear Lauren Boyle of New Zealand by over 24 seconds. It should be recognized that the Chilean 2nd place finisher, Kristel Kobrich, who was made to appear an afterthought in tonight’s heat, finishing about 75 meters and 45 seconds back, is the same athlete who stands #9 on the global all-time performer list at 15:54.30 from the same 2013 Barcelona heat noted above. Her swim tonight, at 16:26.95, even as far back as it was from Katie, places her #11 on the 2015 World Rankings.

Ledecky’s 8:11.21 from the Austin stop in the Arena Pro Series stands as the fastest 800 freestyle in the world for 2015 by about 10 seconds over Australian Jessica Ashwood at 8:21.33, with the USA’s Becca Mann standing next at 8:24.13. Ledecky’s 800 split, to a foot touch, Wednesday was 8:22.68; her last 800 (from in the water push-off at 700 through 1500) was 8:22.76

In her post race interview, she acknowledged, as though it were cause for some degree of disappointment, that she knew her splits by 500s got slower. Her actual 500 splits were: 5:12.60, 5:15.36, 5:14.07. What do you think? Shameful, right?

Her skills have set the bar so high, that we can nearly miss the joyful feast set before us for our amazement. Thank you, Katie.