Katie Ledecky Not Swimming 200 Freestyle at World Championships

Katie Ledecky -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky Not Swimming 200 Freestyle at World Championships

At last week’s U.S. International Team Trials in Greensboro, N.C., Katie Ledecky posted four dominant victories. She swam her fastest time in four years in the 800 freestyle, and then she added first-place results in the 200 free, 400 free and 1500 free. Ledecky has won world titles in all of those events in her career, with four consecutive gold medals in the 800 free and three each in the 400 and 1500. In 2015, she won a competitive 200 free final on her way to four individual gold medals.

However, Ledecky has chosen to withdraw from the 200 free for this year’s meet in Budapest to focus on the three longer events and the 800 free relay. She did not announce the move, but the current U.S. roster for Worlds has Ledecky listed in the 400, 800 and 1500 free while Leah Smith, the third-place finisher in the 200 free at Trials, has added that event in addition to the 400 and 800 to her lineup. Smith will join 15-year-old Claire Weinstein, the surprise No. 2 finisher in the 200 free at Trials, in racing the individual event.

Ledecky finished fifth in the 200 free at the Tokyo Olympics after entering the meet as defending gold medalist. In her absence, Weinstein and Smith will both need to swim much faster than their 1:57-low performances from Greensboro to have a chance of qualifying for the Budapest final.

Despite Ledecky pulling herself out of contention for the individual event, she will surely remain a member of the 800 free relay squad, which she has been a member of at every major international meet going back to the 2013 World Championships. Ledecky has helped the Americans win three world titles plus 2016 Olympic gold in that relay, along with silvers at the 2019 World Championships and 2021 Olympics. Notably, USA Swimming has not added the seventh-place finisher in the 200 free, Erin Gemmell, to the roster. The others expected to participate on the relay this year are Hali FlickingerBella Sims and Alex Walsh.

In addition to the Ledecky news, the current U.S. roster for Worlds shows which swimmers will participate in the 50-meter stroke events. Only Trials winners were added to the World Championships team in these non-Olympic events, but second-place swimmers in five of the six events qualified for Budapest, so they will all swim those respective races. Those swimmers include Torri Huske in the women’s 50 butterfly, Michael Andrew in the men’s 50 fly, Nic Fink in the men’s 50 breaststroke, Regan Smith in the women’s 50 backstroke and Justin Ress in the men’s 50 back. In the women’s 50 breast, however, Lilly King will be the only representative for the United States.

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