Katie Ledecky Lowers Her Own American, U.S. Open Records in 1650 Freestyle at Florida Senior Champs

Katie Ledecky -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky Lowers Her Own American, U.S. Open Records in 1650 Freestyle at Florida Senior Champs

Since her two-year collegiate career at Stanford ended in 2018, Katie Ledecky has raced few short course yards meets, but she made a triumphant return to the format Sunday at the Florida Swimming Senior Champs in Orlando. Ledecky raced the 1650 freestyle and lowered her own American and U.S. Open records in the event with a time of 15:01.41. That beat the 15:03.31 she established in November 2017 as the fastest mark ever recorded.

Ledecky covered the first 1000 yards of the race in 9:02.82, which was just three seconds off her 2015 American and U.S. Open records in the 40-lap race of 8:59.65. At that point, she was more than six seconds under her own American-record pace for the mile, but after holding almost all her 50-yard splits under 27.5 for the first 1000, she slowed slightly over the last third of the race, with mostly splits in the 27-high range. That eliminated the possibility of the first-ever sub-15:00 performance, but her time was still the fastest ever by almost two seconds.

Ledecky completed the race with little competition as the closest swimmer to her pace was Caroline Pennington, who ended up more than one minute behind in 16:08.78. Of course, Ledecky has become used to achieving her best swims in the longest events with no serious challengers. Indeed, she won her three most recent world titles in the 1500-meter free (2015, 2017 and 2022) by at least 14 seconds each, and when she set the current world record in the 1500 free five years ago, she was more than 49 seconds clear of the field.

This new record puts Ledecky more than 22 seconds clear of the next-fastest swimmer in history in the 1650, with Erica Sullivan’s best sitting at 15:23.81. For some comparison to current college swimming, Wisconsin’s Paige McKenna is the top seed in the event at this week’s NCAA Championships with a time of 15:46.90. McKenna won last year’s mile title in 15:40.84.

Before swimming this one race at a low-key senior meet, Ledecky raced last weekend at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Fort Lauderdale, where she earned wins in the 400 IM and 800 free. This is not the first time this season Ledecky has chased records in formats where she rarely competes. In November, she swam at FINA World Cup stops in Toronto and Indianapolis, and in the process, she broke world records in the 1500 free and 800 free.

Full meet information for the Florida Senior Champs can be found here.

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11 months ago

So what does this approximate to for a 1500 LCM?? I know it’s not an exact science, but this converts to an impressive time, I reckon.

Mark McIntosh
Mark McIntosh
11 months ago

That converts to a 15:15 LCM.

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