Katie Ledecky Breaks 4:00 in 400 Freestyle at Atlanta Classic; Dakota Luther Shines in Austin (Women’s Roundup)

Katie Ledecky -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky Breaks 4:00 in 400 Freestyle at Atlanta Classic; Dakota Luther Shines in Austin (Women’s Roundup)

Meets in Atlanta, Austin and Irvine comprise the USA Swimming Club Excellence Challenge Series, providing the last major racing opportunity for top swimmers prior to the U.S. Olympic Trials next month in Indianapolis. Distance racing kicked off the meets Wednesday evening, with Katie Ledecky leading the way with the world’s fastest time in the 1500 freestyle, and she shined again in the 400 free Thursday.

Ledecky clocked a time of 3:59.44 to win the event comfortably at the Atlanta Classic. That moved her into a tie for second in the world rankings with New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather, who swam her time on the way to a world title in the 400 free earlier this year. The only swimmer ahead of those two is Summer McIntosh, who posted a mark of 3:59.08 at the Canadian Olympic Trials this week.

In Atlanta, Ledecky was followed by Madi Mintenko (4:08.68) and Bella Sims (4:08.88), while in Austin, Jillian Cox won by more than 10 seconds in 4:08.95. Aurora Roghair took out the 400 free in Irvine in 4:09.46.

Other events contested Thursday included the 100 freestyle, 100 breaststroke and 200 butterfly.

100 Freestyle

Two of the fastest 100 freestyler in the United States squared off at the Irvine meet, and Torri Huske got the better of Abbey Weitzeil in a finish that came down to two tenths. Huske clocked 53.33, a quarter-second off her season best of 53.08, while Weitzeil went 53.56 for her best time of 2024. Amy Tang was third in 54.96.

Catie DeLoof had the top time in Atlanta at 54.06, while Erika Connolly (formerly Erika Brown) tied for second with Isabel Ivey in 54.81. Both DeLoof and Connolly were part of the U.S. women’s 400 free relay team at the Tokyo Olympics. Erin Gemmell had the top time in Austin with her mark of 54.36, with Chloe Stepanek (55.12) coming in next.

100 Breaststroke

The only sub-1:07 performance of the night came from Anna Elendt in Austin. Elendt, the bronze medalist in the 100 breast while representing Germany at the 2022 World Championships, clocked 1:06.82 to beat Texas teammate and reigning Olympic gold medalist Lydia Jacoby (1:07.69) by more than eight tenths.

Mona McSharry, who represents Ireland internationally but competes in the U.S. for the University of Tennessee, clocked 1:07.08 to win the 100 breast in Atlanta after going 1:06.91 in prelims. Fellow Vol Emelie Fast was second in 1:08.42, with Georgia’s Zoe Hartman third (1:09.23). In Irvine, former NCAA champion Kaitlyn Dobler had the fastest time at 1:07.95.

200 Butterfly

Dakota Luther is positioning herself to make a run at a spot on the U.S. Olympic team in the 200 fly. Racing against University of Texas training partners Emma Sticklen and Kelly Pash in Austin, Luther pulled away to win in 2:07.81, leaving her just outside the global top-10 and behind only Regan Smith and Rachel Klinker among Americans. Also swimming strong times in Austin were Pash (2:09.11) and Sticklen (2:09.77).

Klinker took the win in Irvine in 2:09.31, followed by the Stanford group of Caroline Bricker (2:09.80), Lucy Bell (2:10.53), Charlotte Hook (2:11.26) and Lillie Nordmann (2:12.59). The Atlanta 200 fly went to veteran Leah Gingrich in 2:11.75, ahead of teenagers Lilla Bognar (2:12.29) and Carli Cronk (2:12.68).

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29 days ago

Ariarne Titmis and Summer Mcintosh have both swam faster this year so Ledecky can’t be 2nd this year

Honest swim fan
Honest swim fan
28 days ago

Elendt was NOT the only sub 1:07 swim of the night.

At the Indy Spring Cup Lilly King swam a sub 1:06, touching at 1:05.67.

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