Katie Ledecky Takes Monstrous Chunk Out of 1650 Freestyle American Record

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:

  • 52.55
  • 55.61
  • 55.57
  • 55.74
  • 55.78
  • 55.66
  • 55.82
  • 55.67
  • 55.74
  • 55.98
  • 55.84
  • 55.70
  • 55.67
  • 55.69
  • 55.88
  • 55.61
  • 26.5



  1. what an amazing, awesome performance by Katie. It was fun to watch

  2. Gooby says:

    Typo- Hoff looked unbeatable

  3. coacherik says:

    Mind = Blown.

  4. HulkSwim says:

    She would have finished 2nd at the Texas Invite… for men.

    S… M… A… S… H…


  5. Klorn8d says:

    ^the fastest heats haven’t swam yet so no she didn’t

  6. HulkSwim says:

    HulkSwim no understand Time Zones.

  7. bobo gigi says:

    Happy to remind everyone I had written in 2011 that Katie Ledecky would be a freestyle legend.
    I remind it because for once that one of my predictions happens! :)

    Congrats Katie! You are a legend!

    • aswimfan says:

      Yes, I remember. I actually noticed about ledecky and at that time here on swimswam I made a prediction that a great rtivalry will be develped between Ledecky and Remy Fairweather of Australia, who at the age of 14 swam 4:08.69 and 8:29, quite similar to ledecky and even faster in 400.
      However, Ledecky then went supernova last year during the trials and especially with the olympics. Ledecky did not improve nearly as great, only 4:07 during this year’s Junior Worlds. Still a great time for a 16 yo, but nowhere near Ledecky.

      • aswimfan says:

        “Ledecky did not improve nearly as great, only 4:07 during this year’s Junior Worlds.”

        ooopss… I meant fairweather.

  8. Brent Creager says:

    Just saw the results of the Texas HOF mile. Ledecky would
    have been 5th on the GUYS SIDE

  9. John says:

    Katie is the greatest distance swimmer of all time and
    hasn’t even reached her peak yet. Amazing.

    • aswimfan says:

      My opinion is that Janet Evans still holds the greatest female distance swimmer of all time. (not that I added the adjective “female”, because the greatest male distance is another story).

      If Ledecky wins the 400-800-1,500 again in 2015 Kazan, and wins 400-800 in Rio, then yes, she will be the greatest female distance swimmer of all time.

      Also remember that Evans won 400 IM as well in Seoul.

    • aswimfan says:

      I believe that peak longevity is part of the formula for “greatness”, otherwise Shane Gould should win the title the greatest female swimmers ever…hands down.

  10. anonymous says:

    anyone have footage of the race? USA swimming is incredibly slow…and I was only able to catch the latter half of the live-stream…

    • bobo gigi says:

      Please don’t complain too much!
      Here in France there’s no live streaming for the French championships. Everything is on eurosport and you must pay for that.
      In USA there’s a free live streaming for all the Grand Prix and for all the US championships, junior and senior, available in the entire world.
      Thank you very much USA swimming!
      About the videos, I hope USA swimming will post the finals on it’s youtube channel but I’m not sure. We’ll see.
      Otherwise you have all the sessions’ replays here.
      Katie’s race is on day 3 finals at the beginning of the replay.
      It didn’t work perfectly yesterday when I tried to watch again the men’s 100 back final. The race was cut. I hope they will fix that.

  11. Jim C says:

    What would be the equivalent time for 1500m LC? As a guess, if we add 30 sec to get 15:45 that would be a really strong time for not being rested. Ledecky should be able to do well in the Duel in the Pool.

    • triguy says:

      From swimworldmagazine and their conversion calculator, translates to a 15:29. Just for comparison a 15:10 which others said couldbe within reach translates to a 15:23. Very fast times, even though these aren’t completely accurate!

      • bobo gigi says:

        Katie was of course enough rested to swim fast times this week. You can’t swim 1.42 in the 200 free and 15.15 in the 1650 free if you are not a little rested. But she was far from being fully tapered like in Barcelona last summer.
        I would rather say her 15.36 in the 1500 free from Barcelona translates to around 15.10 in the 1650 free in yards. Just a feeling.

  12. RJ says:

    “Ledecky eh?… let’s see her splits……………..OMG……..(silence)…..Did I even TRY when I swam?!?”

    I swear, this girl feels no pain and must have perfect balance in the water. amiright?

  13. I love the 1650! says:

    Does any one know where we can find the video?

  14. Jim C says:

    Before the men’s final heat, they listed the top 5 men’s times from the earlier heats. As I recall, only 4 of them were faster than Ledecky.

  15. anonymous says:

    Ledecky has incredible technique. look at how she glides through the water…she doesn’t seem to expend much energy and there’s very little splashing. All that efficient energy usage adds up over 1500m. (compare her technique to Missy Franklin…missy certainly has the speed…but could arguably be even faster if she changes her stroke a bit and fix her turns.)

    • bobo gigi says:

      Agree with you on Missy’s freestyle technique. Sure she can improve her technique to be more efficient. Scary for her opponents.

    • aswimfan says:

      I totally agree. not to nitpick on Missy, but her strokes are not that efficient.

      You can also easily tell difference between Missy and those who have perfect strokes like Cate Campbell when they swam side by side during the Barcelona 4×100 free final.

      However, her strokes seem working great for Missy. She can go fast even with those splashing.

  16. Bystander says:

    found this interesting breakdown by the 50′s of Ledecky’s splits vs Hoff’s:


    incorrect labels though: should be yards not meters

  17. bobo gigi says:

    Katie’s race here. Day 3 finals at the beginning of the replay.

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