TYR Pro Series: Katie Ledecky Pops Fifth-Fastest 1500 Free in History

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Katie Ledecky; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

Katie Ledecky – 1500 Freestyle

A month ahead of the start of Olympic Trials season around the world, American distance ace Katie Ledecky put down an impressive marker in the 1500-meter freestyle to open action at the TYR Pro Series stop in Des Moines, Iowa on Wednesday night. Unchallenged and racing only the clock, Ledecky produced a time of 15:29.51, the fifth-fastest performance in history.

When the 1500 freestyle makes its debut as a women’s event at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Ledecky will be the heavy favorite for the gold medal, and her effort in Des Moines served as a reminder of how dominant Ledecky is in the event. Ledecky now owns the 10-fastest performances of all-time and her world record of 15:20.48 sits 18 seconds clear of Denmark’s Lotte Friis, the No. 2-ranked performer in history.

As usual, Ledecky attacked the race from the start, splitting 2:01.32 at the 200-meter mark and 4:06.40 at the 400-meter mark. At 800 meters, Ledecky touched on the feet in 8:16.23, a mere hundredth of a second slower than the best time ever recorded by distance legend Janet Evans. Placing second was United States National Teamer Leah Smith (16:16.34), with Chile’s Kristel Kobrich finishing third in 16:22.35.

At last summer’s World Championships, Ledecky was unable to defend her three consecutive global titles in the 1500 freestyle when a stomach virus forced her withdrawal from the event. But with a little more than three months before the United States Olympic Trials, Ledecky is in fine form on the road to Tokyo.

“It was good. I thought I would have a good time based on what I was going in training,” Ledecky said. “It’s six seconds faster than I was in December, so it’s good to see progress there.”

On the men’s side, 18-year-old Arik Katz prevailed in the 1500 freestyle in 15:10.94, with Jordan Wilimovsky taking second in 15:12.49.


    • Abby Rae Leaf

      Trent Claypool yes??that’s awesome!

  1. Kimberly Joy

    This one is truly unstoppable. Some swimmers can become elite with hard work. Others are just natural. She was born an elite swimmer!

    • Paul Boman

      Have you ever seen her training regimen?

    • Sarah Grundfast

      Jenn Murdock Markoja I did indeed and it was an amazing swim!

  2. avatar

    This was a great swim and amazing to witness. You truly are an amazing swimmer.

  3. Frankie Hanson

    Des Moines is excited you are here to compete Katie! Such a blast to watch you race tonight!

  4. avatar
    Jim Gaughran

    Katie: It’s been so thrilling to watch, in person, or on t.v. You’re the leading person in all sports to show to all coming athletes that glass ceilings are there to be broken, and not just to to be aimed for. Looking forward, along with all Stanford swimmers, present and past, to the coming Olympics. We’ll all be yelling for you so loud over the last 100 of the 1500, that I’m sure you’ll hear us, even with your head underwater.

    One of your greatest fans.

    Jim Gaughran
    Stanford swim coach 1960-1980