Katie Ledecky Dominates 200 Free, Finishes Just Behind Katie Grimes in 400 IM at TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville

katie-ledecky-
Katie Ledecky -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky Dominates 200 Free, Finishes Just Behind Katie Grimes in 400 IM at TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville

In her first competitive action of 2023, U.S. freestyle star Katie Ledecky put together two strong swims at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Knoxville, Tenn., as she scored a win in the 200 freestyle and finished a close second place in the 400 IM behind teenage rival Katie Grimes. In addition to those two races, the 100 breaststroke, 50 backstroke and 100 butterfly were on the competition schedule, and a international swimmers scored wins in those events.

Women’s 200 Freestyle

Now entering her 12th year competing on the elite level, Katie Ledecky continues to have no peer among domestic competition in the 200 free. In her first final of 2023, the 25-year-old jumped out to an early lead over a pair of promising high school seniors with a 56.66 halfway split, and she ended up winning 2.4 seconds. Ledecky finished in 1:55.47, less than a second off her 2022 season best of 1:54.50. She skipped the 200 free at the World Championships but later eclipsed Yang Junxuan’s winning time in the event when she raced at U.S. Nationals.

Bella Sims, who anchored the U.S. women’s 800 free relay to gold at the World Championships before posting a stellar fall season, held off Erin Gemmell to finish second. The Sandpipers swimmer touched in 1:57.87, just ahead of Nation’s Capital’s Gemmell (1:57.97). Another Sandpipers swimmer, Katie Grimes, tied for fourth in 1:59.08 while Claire Weinstein faded to seventh (2:00.08).

Event 3  Women 200 LC Meter Freestyle
==================================================================
        World: W 1:52.98  7/29/2009 Federica Pellegrini, ITA
     American: A 1:53.61  7/31/2012 Allison Schmitt, USA Olympic Team
    U.S. Open: O 1:54.40  6/25/2012 Allison Schmitt, North Baltimore
     Pro Swim: P 1:54.40  4/9/2021  Katie Ledecky, Nation's Capital
     Jr World: j 1:54.79  6/22/2022 Summer McIntosh, CAN
   Oly Trials: T 2:00.89
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Katie Ledecky    25 GSC-FL            1:57.05    1:55.47T       
    r:+0.65  27.54        56.66 (29.12)
        1:26.02 (29.36)     1:55.47 (29.45)
  2 Bella Sims       17 SAND-CA           1:59.50    1:57.87T       
    r:+0.55  27.69        57.50 (29.81)
        1:27.78 (30.28)     1:57.87 (30.09)
  3 Erin Gemmell     18 NCAP-PV           1:58.27    1:57.97T       
    r:+0.80  27.70        57.68 (29.98)
        1:28.14 (30.46)     1:57.97 (29.83)
  4 Ella Jansen      17 Canada            2:00.52    1:59.08T       
    r:+0.74  27.98        58.12 (30.14)
        1:28.27 (30.15)     1:59.08 (30.81)
  4 Katie Grimes     17 SAND-CA   5-y       2:00.70    1:59.08T       
    r:+0.69  28.28        58.69 (30.41)
        1:29.27 (30.58)     1:59.08 (29.81)
  6 Valentine Dumon  22 Belgium           2:00.99    1:59.17T       
    r:+0.75  28.27        58.28 (30.01)
        1:28.95 (30.67)     1:59.17 (30.22)
  7 Claire Weinstei  15 SAND-CA           1:59.56    2:00.08T       
    r:+0.79  28.83        59.23 (30.40)
        1:29.96 (30.73)     2:00.08 (30.12)
  8 Brooklyn Douthw  19 Tennessee-SE      2:00.56    2:00.54T       
    r:+0.64  28.49        58.74 (30.25)
        1:29.80 (31.06)     2:00.54 (30.74)

Women’s 100 Breaststroke

Tennessee’s Mona McSharry, a native of Ireland who qualified for the Olympic final in the 100 breast in 2021, dominated the second half of the race to claim a big win in her home pool. McSharry trailed Texas Ford’s Miranda Tucker by three tenths at the halfway point, but she accelerated down the stretch to touch in 1:06.80, more than a second quicker than Tucker’s 1:07.98. Canada’s Sophie Angus grabbed third in 1:08.73.

Event 5  Women 100 LC Meter Breaststroke
==================================================================
        World: W 1:04.13  7/25/2017 Lilly King, USA
     American: A 1:04.13  7/25/2017 Lilly King, USA
    U.S. Open: O 1:04.45  8/7/2009  Jessica Hardy, Trojan
     Pro Swim: P 1:05.32  4/8/2021  Lilly King, Indiana Swim Clu
     Jr World: j 1:04.35  7/29/2013 Ruta Meilutyte, LTU
   Oly Trials: T 1:10.29
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 *Mona McSharry   22 Tennessee-SE      1:07.36    1:06.80        
    r:+0.69  31.82      1:06.80 (34.98)
  2 Miranda Tucker   25 TFA-NT            1:09.53    1:07.98T       
    r:+0.65  31.51      1:07.98 (36.47)
  3 Sophie Angus     23 Canada            1:09.14    1:08.73T       
    r:+0.70  32.77      1:08.73 (35.96)
  4 Byanca Melissa   28 Reveles           1:10.13    1:09.21T       
    r:+0.70  32.98      1:09.21 (36.23)
  5 Olivia Anderson  25 AQJT-MN           1:10.58    1:10.25T       
    r:+0.78  32.64      1:10.25 (37.61)
  6 Adalene Robilla  15 Mason Manta Rays  1:11.27    1:10.81        
    r:+0.66  33.19      1:10.81 (37.62)
  7 *Cecilla Viberg  19 Louisville-KY     1:11.45    1:10.88        
    r:+0.72  33.40      1:10.88 (37.48)
  8 Emily Santos     17 Montverde-FL      1:11.08    1:11.19        
    r:+0.74  33.79      1:11.19 (37.40)

Women’s 50 Backstroke

In a rematch of the top two swimmers from last year’s World Championships final, Canada’s Kylie Masse again got the better of NC State’s Katharine Berkoff. Masse finished in 27.38, only seven hundredths behind her winning time from last June in Budapest, while Berkoff came in at 27.80, almost seven tenths off her American record of 27.12. Olivia Smoliga, a past world champion in the event (2019) now training with Sun Devil Aquatics, took third in 28.07.

Notably, Regan Smith scratched the final (as well as the 200 free final) after swimming a time of 27.81 in prelims to qualify second behind Masse.

Event 7  Women 50 LC Meter Backstroke
==================================================================
        World: W 26.98  8/21/2018 Xiang Liu, CHN
     American: A 27.12  4/28/2022 Katharine Berkoff, NC State
    U.S. Open: O 27.12  4/28/2022 Katharine Berkoff, NC State Univers
     Pro Swim: P 27.43  4/14/2018 Olivia Smoligna, Athens Bulldog
     Jr World: j 27.49  1/29/2016 Minna Atherton, AUS
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Kylie Masse      26 Canada              27.71      27.38P       
         r:+0.56                       
  2 Katharine Berko  21 NC State-NC         27.95      27.80        
         r:+0.59                       
  3 Olivia Smoliga   28 SUN-AZ              28.27      28.07        
         r:+0.91                       
  4 Josephine Fulle  19 Tennessee-SE        28.62      28.19        
         r:+0.63                       
  5 Abbey Weitzeil   26 California Aq.-P    28.46      28.20        
         r:+0.61                       
  6 Kira Toussaint   28 TNAQ-SE             28.49      28.70        
         r:+0.55                       
  7 Emma Kern        18 AQJT-MN             29.03      28.95        
         r:+0.59                       
  8 Danielle Hanus   24 Canada              29.27      29.17        
         r:+0.63

Women’s 100 Butterfly

Ella Jansen, a 17-year-old from Canada, took care of business against Bella Sims, who was returning for her second final of the night. Jansen went wire-to-wire and finished in 58.92, while Sims was second in 59.86. Tennessee’s Sara Stotler took third in 1:00.36.

Event 9  Women 100 LC Meter Butterfly
==================================================================
        World: W   55.48  8/7/2016  Sarah Sjostrom, SWE
     American: A   55.64  6/19/2022 Torri Huske, USA
    U.S. Open: O   55.66  6/14/2021 Torri Huske, Arlington Aquati
     Pro Swim: P   56.38  2016      Sarah Sjostrom
     Jr World: j   56.43            Claire Curzan, USA
   Oly Trials: T 1:00.19
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Ella Jansen      17 Canada              59.86      58.92T       
    r:+0.73  27.78        58.92 (31.14)
  2 Bella Sims       17 SAND-CA           1:00.74      59.86T       
    r:+0.55  28.39        59.86 (31.47)
  3 Sara Stotler     19 Tennessee-SE      1:01.06    1:00.36        
    r:+0.69  28.48      1:00.36 (31.88)
  4 Kiley Wilhelm    18 LIFE-NC           1:01.26    1:00.40        
    r:+0.79  28.11      1:00.40 (32.29)
  5 Levenia Sim      16 TNT-SE            1:01.55    1:00.93        
    r:+0.64  28.88      1:00.93 (32.05)
  6 Danielle Hanus   24 Canada            1:01.42    1:01.02        
    r:+0.75  28.72      1:01.02 (32.30)
  7 Emily Thompson   17 GSCY-NJ           1:01.32    1:01.17        
    r:+0.66  28.67      1:01.17 (32.50)
  8 Victoria Raymon  17 Canada            1:01.50    1:01.38        
    r:+0.70  28.37      1:01.38 (33.01)

Women’s 400 IM

Katie Ledecky has long possessed the ability to contend internationally in the 400 IM despite placing her primary focus on freestyle races while teenager Katie Grimes claimed the title of top American in the event in 2022 as she earned silver at the World Championships. The two faced off in the 400 IM Thursday evening in Knoxville, and fans were treated to an epic race as Grimes pressed the pace while Ledecky showed off her legendary freestyle as she almost ran down Grimes.

Grimes covered the first 200 meters in 2:11.39, putting her more than five seconds ahead of the field, but she fell back on the breaststroke. Going into freestyle with a two-second advantage over Ledecky, she finished in a very strong 1:01.58 on the freestyle leg, but Ledecky went crazy with a 59.75 split coming home. However, Grimes had just enough to get to the wall in 4:35.92, just three seconds off her 2022 best time, while Ledecky finished 0.17 behind in 4:36.09.

Longhorn’s Leah Smith, another swimmer with a long record of success in the distance events, took third in 4:43.20.

Event 11  Women 400 LC Meter IM
==================================================================
        World: W 4:26.36  8/6/2016  Katinka Hosszu, HUN
     American: A 4:31.12  6/29/2008 Katie Hoff, North Baltimore
    U.S. Open: O 4:28.61  12/2/2022 Summer McIntosh, SYS-FL
     Pro Swim: P 4:31.07  2015      Katinka Hosszu
     Jr World: j 4:28.61  12/2/2022 Summer McIntosh, SYS-FL
   Oly Trials: T 4:49.89
    Name            Age Team              Prelims     Finals              
==================================================================
                        === A - Final ===                         
 
  1 Katie Grimes     17 SAND-CA           4:42.04    4:35.92T       
    r:+0.68  29.13      1:01.21 (32.08)
        1:36.77 (35.56)     2:11.39 (34.62)
        2:52.68 (41.29)     3:34.34 (41.66)
        4:05.66 (31.32)     4:35.92 (30.26)
  2 Katie Ledecky    25 GSC-FL            4:41.87    4:36.09T       
    r:+0.69  29.81      1:03.58 (33.77)
        1:40.95 (37.37)     2:16.70 (35.75)
        2:57.58 (40.88)     3:36.34 (38.76)
        4:07.16 (30.82)     4:36.09 (28.93)
  3 Leah Smith       27 TXLA-ST           4:44.31    4:43.20T       
    r:+0.73  30.10      1:04.63 (34.53)
        1:41.72 (37.09)     2:17.40 (35.68)
        2:58.01 (40.61)     3:40.29 (42.28)
        4:12.21 (31.92)     4:43.20 (30.99)
  4 Kathryn Hazle    18 NCA-SI            4:51.07    4:46.90T       
    r:+0.68  30.46      1:05.58 (35.12)
        1:44.24 (38.66)     2:22.08 (37.84)
        3:01.74 (39.66)     3:42.12 (40.38)
        4:15.08 (32.96)     4:46.90 (31.82)
  5 Alexis Yager     24 TNAQ-SE           4:49.97    4:51.25        
    r:+0.72  31.13      1:07.16 (36.03)
        1:45.94 (38.78)     2:23.92 (37.98)
        3:03.62 (39.70)     3:44.24 (40.62)
        4:18.29 (34.05)     4:51.25 (32.96)
  6 Campbell Chase   17 COR-NT            4:56.04    4:53.24        
    r:+0.70  30.57      1:05.41 (34.84)
        1:43.94 (38.53)     2:21.36 (37.42)
        3:02.72 (41.36)     3:44.87 (42.15)
        4:19.22 (34.35)     4:53.24 (34.02)
  7 Emily Thompson   17 GSCY-NJ           4:53.86    4:54.79        
    r:+0.63  30.77      1:05.30 (34.53)
        1:43.91 (38.61)     2:21.55 (37.64)
        3:04.37 (42.82)     3:47.28 (42.91)
        4:21.60 (34.32)     4:54.79 (33.19)
  8 *Fernanda Goeij  22 Missouri-MV       4:55.47    4:56.95        
    r:+0.66  31.18      1:07.74 (36.56)
        1:46.32 (38.58)     2:23.37 (37.05)
        3:05.79 (42.42)     3:48.78 (42.99)
        4:23.80 (35.02)     4:56.95 (33.15)
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