16-year old Katie Ledecky has crushed the old American Record in the women’s 1650 yard freestyle top open the final night of the 2013 USA Swimming Winter National Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee.
She swam a 15:15.17 on the night; not only did that lap the entire field (by 11 seconds – she lapped the field by 11 seconds in a national championship meet), but it cut down the old American Record of 15:24.35 that was set by Katie Hoff in the prime of her career in 2008, when she looked as good and as unbeatable as Ledecky does now, by 9 seconds. The old American and U.S. Open Records were 15:24.35.Incidentally, Ledecky had the old Meet Record as well in 15:28.36, set last year.
These distance records are sort of an odd duck, because more-often-than-not, they’re broken by these wide margins by a once-in-a-generation type of swimmer, especially on the women’s side, though even this is a huge number by those standards. For example, we were all astounded when Ledecky broke the World Record in the 1500 free in long course over the summer by six seconds, which is roughly the average amount that the 1500 has been reduced by since 1971.
This is an improvement of just shy of 1% over the old record.
Note that Ledecky turned at 500 yards in 4:35.35, and at the 1000 in 9:14.22. Her 1000 split was the second-fastest 1000 yard freestyle in history, and also breaks her own National Age Group Record by 8 seconds.
For a swim this fast, the amount of ways the time can be chopped up to really shock people are almost endless, but here’s a good one: this 1650 free time would rank her 15th on the 15-16 boys’ all-time list, just behind former World Championship team swimmer Sean Ryan, and ahead of several former, current, and future All-American swimmers (Townley Haas, Drew Cosgarea, Zane Grothe, Olympian Andrew Gemmell, and Adam Hinshaw are among the names who weren’t this fast at 16).
A list of noteworthy records broken by Ledecky with this swim:
- 15-16 NAG Record – 1650 free (Ledecky – 15:28.36)
- 15-16 NAG Record – 1000 free (Ledecky – 9:22.35
- American/U.S. Open Records – 1650 free (Katie Hoff – 15:24.35)
- Winter Nationals Meet Record – 1650 free (Ledecky – 15:28.36)
Ledecky’s splits by 100: