TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville: Katie Ledecky Swims Time No One Else Has Beaten in 1500 Freestyle

katie ledecky
Katie Ledecky -- Photo Courtesy: Emily Cameron

TYR Pro Swim Series Knoxville: Katie Ledecky Swims Time No One Else Has Beaten in 1500 Freestyle

In her opening race of 2024, Katie Ledecky lapped all but two swimmers in the final of the women’s 1500 freestyle at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Knoxville, Tenn. The field was missing the rest of the top-15 finishers from the event at last year’s U.S. Nationals, but it’s not as though the best swimmers in the U.S. or even the world are capable of challenging Ledecky over 30 laps. In 2023, she swam her fastest mile time in five years while winning a fifth world title in the event before earning a sixth consecutive gold in the 800 free days later.

The Knoxville mile saw Tennessee’s Aly Breslin flip at the 1400-meter mark in 15:36.44, with teammate Kate McCarville just behind in 15:38.69. Just over a tenth of a second after McCarville flipped, a swimmer four lanes away touched the wall at the finish. Ledecky came in at 15:38.81, the 17th-fastest performance in history. Ledecky owns all 16 quicker times, with Denmark’s Lotte Friis ranking No. 2 all-time among performers at 15:38.88.

Ledecky was four-and-a-half seconds quicker than Italy’s Simona Quadarella swam on the way to silver at the 2023 Worlds (15:43.31), and to compare to her own times, Ledecky clobbered the 15:46.38 she swam in the event at last month’s U.S. Open. However, Ledecky was slightly off her January 2023 mark, having gone 15:37.99 at this meet last year.

Winning heat three, Ashley Wall (née Twichell) (Fayetteville, N.Y./TAC Titans) took second overall with a time of 16:31.13

The overall runnerup in the event was Ashley Wall, previously Ashley Twichell, who entered the pool in heat three and put up a time of 16:31.13. Breslin took second behind Ledecky in their heat in 16:43.09, placing third overall, while McCarville held off Mila Nikanorov for fourth, 16:44.37 to 16:44.60.

The men’s 1500 free was the only other event contested Wednesday evening, and Bobby Finke, Ledecky’s training partner at Florida and the Olympic gold medalist in the event, had no trouble besting the field. Finke checked in with a time of 15:04.43, almost 33 seconds short of the American record (14:31.59) he set while earning silver at last year’s Worlds. Austria’s Felix Aubock was more than 10 seconds back in 15:14.70, while Kentucky’s Levi Sandidge placed third in 15:28.71.


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