Katie Ledecky, Emma Weyant Impressive at Atlanta Classic (Club Excellence Challenge Women’s Roundup)

Katie Ledecky -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky, Emma Weyant Impressive at Atlanta Classic (Club Excellence Challenge Women’s Roundup)

During the first two days of the Atlanta Classic, seven-time Olympic medalist Katie Ledecky set herself up for a strong Olympic summer with the world’s fastest time in the 1500 freestyle and then tying for the second-quickest mark in the 400 free. Friday evening, she put together a strong effort over 200 meters, an event in which she has moved away from racing individually at major meets but where she remains a key relay swimmer for the United States.

Ledecky cruised to a win in 1:55.71, less than a second off her season-best time of 1:54.97 that ranks her No. 4 in the current 2024 world rankings. Joining Ledecky with strong efforts were Florida training partners Isabel Ivey (1:58.19) and Bella Sims (1:58.43) plus teenager Madi Mintenko (1:58.71).

Meanwhile, at the Club Excellence Series meet in Austin, Texas Erin Gemmell swam a strong time of 1:57.51, the fourth-best mark among Americans this year behind Ledecky, Paige Madden and Anna Peplowski. Gemmell joined Ledecky and Sims on the U.S. women’s 800 free relay at last year’s Worlds.

At the furthest west of the three meets, in Irvine, Calif., Aurora Roghair clocked 1:58.11 for the third-best time of the night. Roghair has joined the list of swimmers aiming to position themselves for runs at qualifying for the U.S. women’s 800 free relay at next month’s Olympic Trials.

Friday evening’s session at all three meets continued with the 200 backstroke, 400 IM and 100 butterfly.

Women’s 200 Backstroke

The fastest time of the night in the 200 back belonged to Cal’s Isabelle Stadden, who clocked 2:08.79 in Irvine. Veteran Phoebe Bacon, the silver medalist in the 200 back at the 2022 World Championships, posted the top time in Atlanta by almost two seconds in 2:09.10. After missing the U.S. World Championships team a year ago, Bacon has positioned herself well for a shot at her second Olympic team by winning the NCAA title in the 200-yard back in March.

In Atlanta, Josephine Fuller (2:11.08) and Catherine Choate (2:11.20) came in next while Maggie Wanezek clocked 2:11.99 for the win in Austin.

Women’s 400 IM

Coming off her best collegiate season thus far, Emma Weyant will try to return to international racing this summer after a controversial disqualification in the 400 IM prelims at last year’s U.S. Nationals destroyed her hopes of qualifying for the World Championships. The 2021 Olympic silver medalist is off to a strong start this long course season, and she won the 400 IM in Atlanta by a whopping 9.5 seconds. She posted a time of 4:39.00, the quickest recorded by an American thus far in 2024.

The next-best time of the evening came from Stanford swimmer, Lucy Bell, who dominated the event in Irvine with a time of 4:41.64. Trojan’s Isabelle Odgers swam a solid mark of 4:46.90, and teammate Justina Kozan was third in the heat (4:50.44). Zoe Dixon (4:48.51) and Mia Abruzzo (4:50.90) had the next-best times in Atlanta, while Angie Coe beat out University of Texas teammate Campbell Stoll in Austin, 4:48.76 to 4:51.25.

Women’s 100 Butterfly

A quartet of University of Texas-trained swimmers topped the Austin 100 fly, with Kelly Pash finishing in 58.16 and Emma Sticklen second in 58.57, followed by Dakota Luther (59.01) and Olivia Bray (59.08). Lille Nordmann went 58.57 for the top spot in Irvine while Rachel Klinker edged Cal teammate Morgan Brophy for second, 59.60 to 59.65. In Atlanta, Caroline Larsen came in just ahead of Josephine Fuller, 58.78 to 58.98, with Callie Dickinson third (59.33).

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1 month ago

Wasn’t Katie Grimes’ 400 IM a 4:32 last month?

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