Katie Ledecky Breaks 500 Free NCAA Record in Prelims at Ohio State Invite

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky has been known to crack out some monster efforts during prelims swims, and she did just that in her very first swim at the Ohio State Invitational Friday morning. The Stanford freshman posted a 4:27.54 in the 500 free, crushing Leah Smith’s NCAA record of 4:30.37 from 2015.

That time ranks as the third-fastest performance of all-time, and Ledecky now holds each of the top seven swims on that list. Her American record of 4:26.58 figures to come under fire in finals Friday evening. Ledecky, obviously, was the top qualifier in the event, with the Kentucky duo of Genna Freriks (4:39.34) and Ali Galyer (4:42.27) qualifying second and third, respectively.

This marks the second NCAA record of Ledecky’s career after she broke Smith’s mark in the 1000 free Saturday. With tech suits and likely some rest for this weekend’s invitational, she is a danger to records in any event she competes in.



  1. Nick Wilker

    Evangeline Marshall some motivation

  2. avatar
    Ted Caron

    Katie just may be the greatest woman swimmer ever.

    • avatar
      bryan shapiro, M.D.

      Said Ted Leonisis, “She’s a one in a billion human being”

    • Dave Toffy

      She’s not professional?????

    • Spencer Rausch

      Dave Toffy nah, she wanted to swim at Stanford

  3. JD Abercrombie

    Love how they just snuck “in prelims” in there

  4. Halim Yussuf

    Katie is a record smashing human machine.

  5. Miriam Tapia

    Katia anda con todo Ximena Tinoco Perez

  6. avatar
    Bill Bell

    Where’s Sun Yang (Ian Thorpe? Mack Hirton? Paul Biedermann?) when ya’ ned ’em?

    Four twenty- seven in November equates to oh, say a 3:55 come,NCAAs!

  7. Dave Hoover

    No biggie, a prelim swim in Nov….yawn….just another day at the Office for Ms. Ledecky.

    • avatar
      bryan shapiro, M.D.

      Said a teammate about Katie, “A bad day for Katie is when she wins, but doesn’t set a World’s Record”!

  8. Jim Smith

    It’s that Ohio State Water that did the trick

  9. Lisa Cronin Nan

    Wendy Linn Jacobs- Devyn saw her today!

  10. Shari Kennedy Halsmer

    Then she cooled down, dried off, and walked back to the side of the pool to cheer on her teammates. A class act!

  11. Monica Ruiz

    Veronica Bracamonte: Martina!

  12. Roger W. Hirsch

    This woman is an unbelievable champion. She doesn’t chip away at records, she smashes them.

Author: David Rieder

David Rieder is a staff writer for Swimming World. He has contributed to the magazine and website since 2009, and he has covered the NCAA Championships, U.S. Nationals, Olympic Trials as well as the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio and the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. He is a native of Charleston, S.C., and a 2016 graduate of Duke University.

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