Katie Ledecky Posts Second-Fastest 500 Freestyle In History At USA Swimming Nationals

Photo Courtesy: Azaria Basile

GREENSBORO – The crowd gathered around the deck at the Greensboro Aquatic Center to witness an American record chase by Katie Ledecky in the 500-yard freestyle at the USA Swimming short course nationals. Out under pace at 100 yards, Ledecky couldn’t match the speed but posted the second-fastest performance in history with a 4:29.54.

Ledecky hit the 100-yard mark at 50.89, two tenths under her record pace. After that, she continually fell more off her pace, as much as 1.2 seconds at the 300-yard mark. She did put in a big rally at the finish to get within a second of her American and U.S. Open record of 4:28.71.

Well behind Ledecky was an exciting battle for second among four swimmers. Gillian Ryan, a mainstay on the national scene now in her freshman year at Michigan, was second with a 4:37.78. Indiana’s Kennedy Goss got the bronze medal with a 4:38.35. Ryan barely gets ahead of Florida’s Jessica Thielmann for the fastest collegiate time so far this season, while Goss is third.

Sarasota YMCA’s Danielle Valley (4:38.79), Indiana’s Haley Lips (4:39.98), York’s Courtney Harnish (4:40.10), UCLA’s Katy Campbell (4:40.53) and Michigan’s Hannah Moore (4:40.90) rounded out the fast field.

In the B final, top seed Hannah Cox of Upper Valley Aquatics built up a body-length lead over the field, and nearly kept that at the finish to win with a 4:42.32. Isabella Rongione and Megan Moroney, swimming in lanes one and two, battled through the final 100 with Moroney placing second in 4:43.08 to Rongione’s 4:43.29.

Sophie Cattermole, a future Louisville Cardinal now swimming for Sarasota YMCA Sharks, took the win in the C final with a 4:43.91, a lifetime best by a little more than a second. She pulled away from the pack at the 350-yard mark and held off a charge from Genevieve Miller in lane eight, who was second in the heat with a 4:44.71. Erin Voss took third with a 4:44.72 to lower her previous best by seven seconds.

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