Katie Ledecky Posts Olympic Record in 400 Freestyle Prelims

Photo Courtesy: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

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Katie Ledecky got out to a quick start in the final heat of this morning’s 400 freestyle and dominated as usual. She’ll head to finals in the top spot with her 3:58.71, a new Olympic record, and just shy of her own World Record.

Ledecky actually improved on her mark of 3:58.98 from U.S. Olympic Trials last month, but she said the race was the “easiest it’s felt going under 4:00.”

“I think my last stroke was a little bit lackadaisical,” Ledecky said. I shouldn’t have done that but whatever. I think it will be fine tonight.”

Ledecky made her Rio debut Saturday when she anchored the American 400 free relay in both prelims and finals, helping the team capture a silver medal in American record-time. Ledecky said she managed to get a full night’s sleep after the relay before prelims and that having that swim start off the meet helped ease her nerves going into the 400.

“I wanted to practice going out a little bit easier—just get into my tempo, the right tempo,” she said. “Coming off the 100 yesterday, [coach] Bruce [Gemmell] had to remind me a couple times today, ‘This isn’t a 100.’ I didn’t want to spin my wheels too much, so I just kind of backed off and kept it easy at front. I know that I can be at my best when I can really feel strong at the end.”

Leah Smith of the U.S., Brittany Maclean of Canada and Jazz Carlin of Great Britain had a tight race through the halfway mark of heat three. MacLean led through the 300, but Carlin charged home to take the heat in 4:02.83. She will head to finals seeded second. Smith’s 4:03.39 will make her the third seed tonight, just .01 ahead of France’s Coralie Balmy (4:03.40). Smith touched just .04 ahead of Maclean (4:03.43) who will be seeded fifth tonight.

Australian national record holder Jessica Ashwood posted a 4:03.58 to return to tonight’s finals in sixth.

Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas swam a 4:04.11 to take seventh and Australia’s Tamsin Cook secured the last spot with a 4:04.36.

1 Comment

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Bill Bell

    Can you say 3:49.99?

Author: Cathleen Pruden

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Cathleen Pruden is a 2016 graduate of Mount Holyoke College and was a four time All-American and a three time Academic All-American for the Lyons. She grew up swimming in and has also coached in Raleigh, North Carolina. Currently she is the Assistant Coach at Bowdoin College.

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