TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville: Katie Ledecky Pops Dominant 800 Free; Summer McIntosh Sizzles in 200 IM Duel (Women’s Recap)

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville: Katie Ledecky Starts Final Night with Dominant 800 Free (Women’s Recap)

Another night, another display of Katie Ledecky dominance.

Ledecky opened the final night of the TYR Pro Swim Series in Knoxville by blasting the field in the 800 freestyle. Her winning time was 8:14.97, just over 10 seconds off her world record.

She outpaced field by nearly 13 seconds, all the way back to a none-too-shabby Olympic medalist in Paige Madden. Madden set a best time, trimming three tenths off her previous best from the 2023 Pan Am Games to go 8:27.64. (Ledecky, not for nothing, would’ve been seventh in the men’s race.)

Madden held off a late charge from Jillian Cox, who grabbed third in 8:28.00. Her Longhorn Aquatic teammate Leah Smith was a long way back in fourth in 8:38.90.

The rest of the events on the final night:

100 backstroke

All the drama that Ledecky took out of the 800 free found a home in the 100 back. Katharine Berkoff surged off the wall at 50 meters and rallied to victory in 59.06, matching her time from prelims. It was enough to surge past Claire Curzan, who finished second in 59.11.

Rhyan White finished third in 59.84. Leah Shackley was fourth in 1:00.16. The A final included teen Charlotte Crush in sixth (1:00.99) and Canadian Olympian Taylor Ruck in seventh (1:01.04).

200 breaststroke

Kate Douglass’s rampage toward the Paris Olympics now includes an American record.

Douglass won the women’s 200 breast in emphatic fashion, more than five seconds ahead of Lilly King, in 2:19.30. That time is an American and U.S. Open record, downing marks held by Rebecca Soni from 2012 and 2009, respectively. It also is the Pro Swim Series mark. More on that here.

King, who bested Douglass in the 100 breast, was second over the longest distance in 2:24.34. That was 1.5 seconds up on third place Mona McSharry of Ireland and the University of Tennessee. She was joined by Vols in fifth and sixth, respectively Tess Cieplucha and Alexis Yager.

200 individual medley

Douglass almost lost a U.S. Open record about as fast as she gained one. Summer McIntosh buzzed within .07 of the mark with a time of 2:07.16 to win. That sets the Alan Jones Aquatic Center record and pushes within a second of Katinka Hosszu’s increasingly endangered world mark from 2015.

Both McIntosh and Douglass’s college teammate Alex Walsh had a shot at it, in a battle that portends a heck of a race in Paris. Walsh was .08 up after 150 meters, having gouged more than a second out of McIntosh with her superior breaststroke leg. But McIntosh closed harder, in 30.01 to Walsh’s 30.56.

McIntosh lowered her PSS record of 2:08.08 from last March.

Walsh, the silver medalist at the Tokyo Olympics and 2023 World Championships, finished second in 2:07.63.

It would be more than six seconds until the crowd came in, Kelly Pash edging Canada’s Ashley McMillan by .05 seconds for third. Beata Nelson was fifth.

50 freestyle

The 50 free capped the meet fittingly as a convergence of winners Saturday night. But it was the veteran of even a veteran field that took the day.

Kasia Wasick, swimming for Dallas Mustangs, won in 24.31. The Polish international was .26 seconds up on American Olympian Abbey Weitzeil.

Kate Douglass and her new American record finished third in 24.67. Katharine Berkoff was eighth in trying to build on her 100 back win. Fourth place went to Simone Manuel in 24.82. Catie DeLoof and Erika Connolly (the former Erika Brown) tied for fifth in 25.23, .02 up on Torri Huske.

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