Katie Ledecky Swims 4:02 400 Free at Sectionals; Summer McIntosh Goes Sub-1:00 100 Back

Katie Ledecky -- Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky Swims 4:02 400 Free at Sectionals; Summer McIntosh Goes Sub-1:00 100 Back

One day after her 13-year winning streak in the 800 freestyle was snappedKatie Ledecky swam one more race at the Orlando Sectionals Friday evening, this time without Summer McIntosh in the field, but McIntosh raced other events and continued building up her legend as one of the most versatile swimmers not only currently active but in swimming history.

Ledecky swam a time of 4:02.39 in the 400 free to finish 13 seconds clear of the field, with Gator Swim Club’s Lillie Nesty, the daughter of Ledecky’s coach at the University of Florida, Anthony Nesty, taking second in 4:15.55. Ledecky’s swim was nowhere near her best times in the event, the fastest of which is the 3:56.46 she swam for gold at the 2016 Olympics, a mark which remains the American record, but she did surpass her previous season-best time in the event, the 4:03.46 she recorded last month at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Knoxville, Tenn.

McIntosh, meanwhile, opted out of the 400 free to race the 100 backstroke and 50 free. She clocked a best time of 25.54 in the 50 free, which was good enough for second place behind 14-year-old Rylee Erisman (25.25) and ahead of 2021 U.S. Olympian Natalie Hinds (25.62). McIntosh was disqualified in the 100 back heats, but she swam the race again leading off a 400 medley relay for her Sarasota Sharks.

In that race, McIntosh clocked 59.64 to join the sub-1:00 club in the event and become the seventh-fastest Canadian ever. Only two-time world champion Kylie MasseSinead RussellTaylor Ruck, Ingrid WilmMaggie Mac Neil and Jade Hannah have been quicker. This is a time good enough to make semifinals at any major international competition and close to the cutoff for finals (59.62 was eighth at the 2023 Worlds), and given McIntosh’s strength in the longer freestyle events, the individual medley and 200 fly, the 100 back might be her 10th-best event.

McIntosh is scheduled to race the 100 free and 200 breaststroke Saturday while Ledecky is done for the meet.

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