Summer McIntosh Edges Katie Ledecky in 400 Freestyle at World Cup in Toronto; Swims Are No. 2 and No. 3 All-Time


Summer McIntosh Edges Katie Ledecky in 400 Freestyle at World Cup in Toronto; Swims Are No. 2 and No. 3 All-Time

The past year has witnessed Summer McIntosh delivering a handful of performances that have made the 16-year-old a high-profile figure in the sport. Most notably, McIntosh claimed gold medals at the World Championships in the 400-meter individual medley and 200 butterfly. Now, McIntosh owns a defining victory in the short-course version of the 400 freestyle, as the Canadian youngster clipped American Katie Ledecky in an epic showdown on Friday night.

Racing at the FINA World Cup stop in Toronto, McIntosh edged ahead of Ledecky in the final strokes and set a World Junior Record of 3:52.80. Ledecky was right behind in an American record of 3:52.88, and the efforts rank No. 2 and No. 3 all-time, behind only the 3:51.30 world record that China’s Li Bingjie established on Thursday at the Chinese National Championships.

Unsurprisingly, Ledecky set the pace from the start and held the lead through the opening 250 meters. But McIntosh was right with Ledecky and moved into the lead at the 275-meter mark. While the American moved back ahead at 350 meters and was still in the lead with a lap left, McIntosh had a little more over the final length. The Canadian closed in 13.91, compared to the 14.22 of Ledecky. That finish was just enough to hand the teen the win.

McIntosh has defined herself as a multi-event star on the international scene and this triumph over Ledecky only confirms the talent that will make her one of the most-watched athletes in the sport on the road to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. More, McIntosh proved the 400 freestyle will be a three-woman show over the next two years, as she contends with Ledecky and world-record holder Ariarne Titmus for supremacy.

Until Li set the world record in Beijing on Thursday, the world record in the short-course 400 freestyle was 3:53.92, set by Titmus in 2018. McIntosh and Ledecky blasted that time, with McIntosh grabbing the WJR from China’s Wang Wang Jianjiahe, who owned the mark at 3:53.97.