Katie Ledecky Edges Summer McIntosh By Eight Hundredths in Epic 400 Freestyle Duel at U.S. Open

Katie Ledecky -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky Edges Summer McIntosh By Eight Hundredths in Epic 400 Freestyle Duel at U.S. Open

As Katie Ledecky raced in her first long course 400 freestyle final since recapturing the world title in the event in June, she was up against the teenager who captured silver at those Budapest World Championships and has quickly become one of the young stars of the sport. Summer McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian currently representing the Sarasota YMCA Sharks, secured her first win over Ledecky in a short course meters 400 free race last month, and in a rematch Thursday evening at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C., the American got back on top by an extremely slim margin.

Ledecky was ahead of McIntosh for the first half of the race, but McIntosh was within six hundredths at the halfway point. The Canadian then led at the 250-meter split before the two were tied with 100 meters remaining. McIntosh opened up a tiny four-hundredth lead with 50 meters to go, but Ledecky fought back. She emerged ahead off the final turn, and as the two swimmers were breathing toward each other down the stretch, the veteran overcame the teenager’s final push.

Ledecky finished in 28.99 to get to the wall in 3:59.71, just eight hundredths ahead of McIntosh’s 3:59.79. The win was Ledecky’s second of the meet after she previously topped the 800 free Wednesday night.

Ledecky owns the American record in this event at 3:56.46, a mark set at the 2016 Olympics and one that stood as the world record until Australia’s Ariarne Titmus swam slightly quicker earlier this year. Ledecky won the world title (with Titmus absent) in 3:58.15, while McIntosh became only the fourth woman in history to break 4:00 this year (joining Titmus, Ledecky and Federica Pellegrini) as she topped out at 3:59.32 at the Commonwealth Games.



Video of the final 100 meters:

The two swimmers finished almost 10 seconds clear of the field. Third place went to the Sarasota YMCA’s Michaela Mattes in 4:09.53, while Emma Weyant took fourth in 4:10.12, just ahead of a tie between Cavan Gormsen and Erin Gemmell (4:10.15).


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