USA Swimming Winter Nationals: Katie Ledecky’s American Record Highlight of Night

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee, December 7. THE final night at the USA Swimming Winter Nationals featured history being made as Katie Ledecky produced the most amazing 1650 free of all time.

Women’s 1650 free
You just have to shake your head sometimes. World Swimmer of the Year Katie Ledecky not only scorched the American record in the 1650 free by nearly 10 seconds, she lapped the field that included a two-time Olympian in what might be one of the most amazing distance freestyle swims in the history of our sport.

Ledecky hit the 500 yard mark in 4:35.35, just two seconds off the time she used to win the event on day one and if she were in college, would be good enough for an NCAA A cut — as a split. Then, about halfway through the swim, Ledecky lapped her first swimmer. At the 1000 mark, she clocked a 9:14.22, cutting several seconds off her personal best and just a few seconds off Katie Hoff’s American record in that event of a 9:10.77.

Ledecky then left no doubt by keeping up the pace with an unreal 15:15.17 to win the finale and cut almost 10 seconds from Katie Hoff’s 2008 record of 15:24.35 set while swimming for North Baltimore. Notably, Ledecky also crushed her meet record of 15:28.36 that also had stood as the 15-16 U.S. National Age Group record until tonight.

“I knew I had to be pretty controlled up front and save my legs so I tried to do that as best as I could and it definitely paid off throughout the race,” Ledecky said. “I felt really good going out and I just got into a good rhythm and tried to stick with it. This is my first short course American record so it’s really neat. It’s been a lot of fun this weekend. I had some good swims and wanted to end on a good note tonight.”

Event 25 Women 1650 Yard Freestyle
American: A 15:24.35 03/02/2008Katie Hoff, North Baltimore
U.S. Open: O 15:24.35 03/02/2008Katie Hoff, North Baltimore
Meet: M 15:28.36 12/01/2012Katie Ledecky, Nation’s Capital
Name Age Team Seed Finals HyPts Points
1 Ledecky, Katie 16 Nation’s Capital 15:28.36 15:15.17A 1080 20
r:+0.72 25.18 52.55 (27.37)
1:20.33 (27.78) 1:48.26 (27.93)
2:15.83 (27.57) 2:43.83 (28.00)
3:11.78 (27.95) 3:39.57 (27.79)
4:07.57 (28.00) 4:35.35 (27.78)
5:03.32 (27.97) 5:31.01 (27.69)
5:58.95 (27.94) 6:26.83 (27.88)
6:54.60 (27.77) 7:22.50 (27.90)
7:50.39 (27.89) 8:18.24 (27.85)
8:46.18 (27.94) 9:14.22 (28.04)
9:42.13 (27.91) 10:10.06 (27.93)
10:37.89 (27.83) 11:05.76 (27.87)
11:33.67 (27.91) 12:01.45 (27.78)
12:29.21 (27.76) 12:57.12 (27.91)
13:25.12 (28.00) 13:53.00 (27.88)
14:20.85 (27.85) 14:48.61 (27.76) 15:15.17 (26.56)

Meanwhile, Indiana’s Lindsay Vrooman put up a strong 15:54.68 for second, while IX3’s Chloe Sutton clocked a 15:57.45 for third.

IX3’s Ashley Twichell (15:59.44), Towson’s Kaitlin Burke (16:07.19), Arizona State’s Tristin Baxter (16:09.75), Minnesota’s Ashley Steenvoorden (16:09.79) and Pleasanton’s Moriah Simonds (16:11.64) rounded out the top eight of the timed final event.

Men’s 1650 free
After everyone had the chance to recalibrate what fast is in swimming after Ledecky’s swim, Michigan’s Connor Jaeger cruised to victory in the men’s 1650 freestyle this evening.

Jaeger clocked a 14:39.02 for the win, just a few seconds off his personal best, but plenty strong enough to clear the NCAA A cut in the event. Club Wolverine’s Michael Klueh raced into second with a 14:40.20 for his third-fastest swim ever.

Michigan made the podium a clean sweep with Anders Nielsen taking third in 14:47.88, just off the NCAA A cut in the process.

Tiger’s Craig Hamilton (14:55.24), Perth’s Stephen Milne (14:55.71), California’s Jeremy Bagshaw (14:56.00), Badger’s Ryan Feeley (14:56.82) and Northwestern’s Jordan Wilimovsky (15:02.950 also made their way into the top 8 of the timed final event.

Women’s 200 back
American-record holder Elizabeth Pelton didn’t have her top time in her this evening, but she had enough to win her pet event by about two seconds.

Pelton nearly took down Missy Franklin’s meet record of 1:49.18 with a 1:49.59 for the win ahead of her Cal teammate. Franklin, meanwhile, wound up with a second-place 1:51.54 as both swimmers are still battling some serious training. Indiana’s Brooklyn Snodgrass followed up with a third-place 1:52.68 as the top three swimmers all cleared the NCAA A cut.

Cal’s Melanie Klaren just missed an A cut of her own with a 1:52.84, while the Golden Bears still showed off their depth with Stephanie Au (1:54.44) and Sophie Batchelor (1:54.82) placing fifth and sixth as well.

Indiana’s Cynthia Pammett (1:55.36) and NCAP’s Janet Hu (1:56.51) brought up the rear with seventh and eighth in the finale.

Men’s 200 back
Although it’s not his standard distance, Russian Olympian Arkady Vyatchanin crushed his lifetime best and the rest of the field in the distance dorsal tonight.

Vyatchanin clocked a 1:37.87 for the win tonight, beating his previous best of 1:38.22 from last year’s Winter Nationals. He became the third-fastest performer ever in the event with his swim.

Vyatchanin is still a man without a country as he left Russia and will not compete for that country any longer. However, since he is not a dual citizen there is no simple route for him to switch to a new country. His preference is to wind up on Team USA, but there’s definitely a long waiting period to make the transition to the Stars and Stripes.

California’s Jacob Pebley finished second in 1:40.72 to beat the NCAA A cut, while teammate Ryan Murphy posted a 1:41.02 for third to also make the NCAA A cut standard.

Indiana’s Eric Ress just missed the A cut with a fourth-place 1:41.58, while Utah’s Kristian Kron placed fifth in 1:42.41.

Louisville’s Grigory Tarasevich (1:42.70) and Aaron Greene (1:43.47) closed out the legal finishes with sixth and seventh, while Queens’ Matt Josa flinched at the start to draw a disqualification. Josa broke the NCAA D2 record this morning with a 1:43.03.

Women’s 100 free
Not bad for 31 years old as Natalie Coughlin, our January cover personality, throws down a 47.19 to win the 100 free, her fifth-fastest time ever. It wasn’t in the realm of seriously fast that challenging her American record (46.84) or meet record (46.85) would have been, but it’s still a strong time considering where she is at in training at this point in the season. That’s also a sprint free sweep for the Golden Bear.

SwimAtlanta’s Amanda Weir, another veteran at 27, took second overall in 47.37. That’s her third-fastest swim ever. Meanwhile, superstar Missy Franklin continued to demonstrate her evolution into a quintessential collegiate swimmer with a third-place 47.42 as she keeps focusing on those sprints.

SwimMAC’s Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace, the fastest swimmer ever in the event with a 46.61 U.S. Open record from last year, took fourth in 48.21.

Utah’s Traycie Swartz (48.24), California’s Rachael Acker (48.47) NCAP’s Janet Hu (48.68) and Tennessee’s Faith Johnson (49.12) comprised the rest of the championship finale. Cal’s Kaylin Bing, meanwhile, took home the B final in 48.91.

Men’s 100 free
California’s Nathan Adrian made a serious run at the meet record in the 100 free, but wound up just short with a 41.39 for the win. That came up short of Matt Grevers’ 2010 record of 41.35 while swimming for Tucson Ford that year. The time is Adrian’s fourth best ever.

Along with Natalie Coughlin’s 50/100 free double, Adrian made it a clean sweep for Cal’s post-grad sweep with a 50/100 free double of his own.

The top three swimmers all cleared 42 seconds in a stacked finale. NYAC’s Adam Brown put up a strong 41.89 after clocking a 42.04 in prelims, while Grevers claimed third overall in 41.99.

NYAC’s Darian Townsend (42.13), Louisville’s Joao De Lucca (42.24), NYAC’s Josh Schneider (42.32), Utah’s Nicholas Soedel (42.72) and SwimAtlanta’s Karl Krug (42.78) also put up sub-43s in the championship finale. Meanwhile, SwimMAC’s Dax Hill turned up the heat in the B final with a 42.54 after clocking a 22.26 on the way home.

Women’s 200 breast
Out under U.S. Open pace with a 59.87 at the 100, Jamaican Olympian Alia Atkinson could not keep up the pace the rest of the way as she still wound up dominating in 2:06.22. That swim is slower than her lifetime best of 2:05.63 from prelims, during which she actually went out even hard at 59.65 at the 100.

SwimMAC’s Micah Lawrence placed a distant second in the finale with a 2:08.93, while Utah’s Stina Colleou continued the strong meet for the Utes with a bronze-winning time of 2:09.50.

Minnesota’s Haley Spencer (2:09.80) and T2’s Justine Mueller (2:09.88) battled for fourth, while Indiana’s Bronwyn Pasloski (2:10.08), California’s Marina Garcia Urzainqui (2:11.96) and Michigan’s Angela Chokran (2:13.36) completed the rest of the top eight in the finale.

Notably, Molly Hannis of Tennessee had a strong swim in the B final with a 2:10.45, coming home in 33.43 to overtake SwimMAC’s Katie Meili (2:10.90) and Louisville’s Gisselle Kohoyda (2:10.92).

Men’s 200 breast
The hometown fans finally had the chance to cheer on a Volunteer national champion as Tennessee’s Brad Craig put together a strong winning effort of 1:52.99. That’s a monstrous lifetime best for the Big Orange swimmer, beating his previous top time of 1:54.24 from the 2011 Southeastern Championships.

NCAP’s Chuck Katis, now swimming for NCAP after leaving Harvard, took second in 1:53.84, while Louisville’s Addison Bray placed third overall in 1:54.89.

Michigan’s Richard Funk (1:55.01), Trojan’s Mike Alexandrov (1:55.04), Indiana’s Cody Miller (1:55.10), California’s Josh Prenot (1:55.17) and Louisville’s Kameron Chastain (1:56.87) also vied for the national title this evening.

Women’s 200 fly
Louisville’s Kelsi Worrell put herself firmly in the NCAA title contention conversation with a 1:54.12 to win the national title this evening. That swim broke her previous best of 1:54.82 from prelims, and guaranteed her a spot at NCAAs in the event with an A cut.

California’s Caitlin Leverenz turned in a strong second-place time of 1:55.17, while Rachel Bootsma placed third overall in 1:55.44. Indiana’s Brenna MacLean just missed the podium with a fourth-place time of 1:55.82.

SMAC’s Remedy Rule, who had to fight to overturn a DQ in prelims, took fifth in 1:56.60, while Indiana’s Gia Dalesandro placed sixth in 1:56.78.

Western Kentucky’s Claire Donahue (1:56.93) and Cal’s Sophie Batchelor (1:57.88) also swam in the championship finale. Heather Lundstrom of Tennessee clocked a 1:56.60 for the B final win as well.

Men’s 200 fly
Michigan’s Dylan Bosch lowered his personal best with a winning time of 1:41.01 as he had no peer this evening in the longer distance fly. That time beat his 1:41.18 from the 2013 Big Ten Championships as his personal record as he led wire-to-wire.

NCAP’s Andrew Seliskar dropped a second-place 1:42.55, about a second back of Tom Shield’s 17-18 U.S. National Age Group record of 1:41.52 from 2010. He still has some time to catch the record before he ages up.

Arizona State’s Alex Coci took third overall in 1:43.27, just edging Cal’s Will Hamilton (1:43.33) for the final spot on the podium.

Michigan’s Kyle Whitaker (1:43.81), Cal’s Marcin Tarczynski (1:44.40), Michigan’s John Wojciechowski (1:45.70) and Utah’s Bence Kiraly (1:45.73) comprised the rest of the top eight in the finale.

Women’s 400 free relay
California’s Rachael Acker (48.70), Elizabeth Pelton (48.58), Kaylin Bing (48.31) and Missy Franklin (47.86) closed out a meet record time in the women’s sprint medley with a time of 3:13.45.

That performance clipped the previous meet mark of 3:13.90 set by Arizona a year ago with Margo Geer at the helm.

Cal’s B team of Farida Osman (49.27), Camille Cheng (48.95), Caroline Piehl (48.45) and Cindy Tran (48.80) finished second overall in the relay with a 3:15.47, while SwimMAC’s Katie Meili (49.48), Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace (47.74), Patricia Castro Ortega (48.81) and Kelsi Hall (49.96) picked up third overall in 3:15.99.

Indiana (3:16.72), Tennessee (3:17.15), Michigan (3:19.33), Louisville (3:20.16) and NCAP (3:20.32) also made the top eight in the timed final event.

Men’s 400 free relay
California closed the contest with a meet record as Tyler Messerschmidt (42.98), Ryan Murphy (42.40), Fabio Gimondi (43.35) and Seth Stubblefield (42.43) put up a 2:51.16. That swim downed Auburn’s 2008 record of 2:51.19 anchored by Australian sprinter Matt Targett.

SwimMAC’s Dax Hill (42.64), Nick Thoman (43.52), Tim Phillips (43.26) and Cullen Jones (42.03) touched second in 2:51.45 in the finale, while Louisville’s Caryle Blondell (43.30), Joao De Lucca (43.52), Aaron Young (43.59) and Trevor Carroll (43.60) placed third in 2:51.88.

Michigan (2:52.88), NYAC (2:53.46), Utah (2:53.72), Tennessee (2:54.78) and Michigan (2:54.93) finished fourth through eighth to close out the night.