Katie Ledecky Posts Second-Fastest 400 Free in History, New U.S. Open Record

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

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In a sight that has become so familiar over the years, Katie Ledecky took a dominating lead in the women’s 400 free final in Indianapolis, with Leah Smith pulling clearly into second. The only question: Would Ledecky challenge her own world record?

Briefly, the answer was yes — Ledecky was barely under WR pace after 50 meters — but she ended up falling just off the pace. Still, she recorded a time of 3:57.94, the second-fastest performance in history behind her world record of 3:56.46 set on her way to gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Previously, Ledecky’s second-fastest mark had been a 3:58.34 from last year’s World Championships.

Ledecky broke her own U.S. Open record of 3:58.44 set in the same Indianapolis pool at last year’s Nationals. Ledecky now owns the top ten times in history in the event. Ironically, this swim was the first time she had ever recorded a 3:57, having skipped from 3:58 to 3:56 two years ago in Rio.

Smith took second in 4:06.67, moving her to No. 9 in the world rankings, and Katie Drabot, a teammate of Ledecky’s at Stanford, finished third in 4:08.29. Just missing the top three was Athens Bulldog’s Hali Flickinger, who touched fourth in 4:08.61.

The rest of the final consisted of Sandpipers’ Erica Sullivan (4:12.01), Club Wolverine teammates Rose Bi (4:13.54) and Sierra Schmidt (4:14.47) and Mission Viejo’s Ashley Neidigh (4:14.75).



  1. Marni Lucich

    WoW Katie What a Ride Swimming 🏊‍♀️
    Phenomenal !!!

  2. Tom McLaughlin

    I suspect she has a performance driven contract that rewards records with $$$.
    She is a smart lady and will soon be rich as well. Good for her! 🏊🏻‍♀️🤑🎉