World Record holder Katie Ledecky talks about her swim in the 800 free. She mentions that she is happy with the swim, and that she thought it was a few tenths faster than she was at Mesa last year (she was correct – 8:20.64 last year vs. her 8:20.10 this year).
But the really interesting nugget is when Ledecky is talking about the wind that everyone was dealing with in Mesa. She mentioned that on the way down (away from the blocks) she changed to a little bit more of a gallop stroke to deal with it than she usually swims.
This sort of ‘adaptation to race conditions’ isn’t something we usually get to see all that often in swimming as much as say baseball or football, though other countries tend to swim major meets outdoors in these sorts of variable conditions much more often.
Ledecky, like a true pro, took it in stride. Nathan Adrian in his interview earlier in the meet after the 50 free made a great point, though: the U.S. Nationals in 2014 will be swum outdoors in Irvine, as will the 2014 Pan Pac Championships. Changing weather conditions are a factor that athletes will have to deal with this summer, and so Saturday’s turn in the temperature in Mesa was good preparation for that.