1500 Champion Kristin Cornish: “I didn’t know what lap I was on”


Reported by Spencer Penland.


  • World Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 15:20.48 (2018)
  • American Record: Katie Ledecky – 15:20.48 (2018)
  • US Open Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 15:20.48
  • World Junior Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 15:28.36 (2014)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: N/A (New Olympic event in 2021)
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: N/A (New Olympic event in 2021)
  • Wave I Cut: 16:49.19
  • Wave II Cut: 16:44.60


  1. Kristin Cornish (BAD) – 16:42.63
  2. Audrey Coffey (HUSK) – 16:49.09
  3. Alivia Lindorfer (WA) – 16:55.85
  4. Aurora Roghair (IFLY) – 16:57.40
  5. Juli Arzave (TAC) – 17:03.38
  6. Hayley Pike (BA) – 17:26.33

Kristin Cornish made the most out of the opportunity, getting on her pace early, and doing the best job of anyone in the field at holding her pace. She posted a 16:42.63 to win the race convincingly, taking 3 seconds off her lifetime best. The 17-year-old now sits just outside the all-time top 100 for 17-18 girls, and will have another shot at the race in about a week.

Cornish swam a consistent race, splitting 5:30.28 on the first 500m, 5:36.03 on the 2nd 500m, and 5:36.32 on the final 500m. Runner-up Audrey Coffey was right with Coffey through the first few hundred meters of the race, but Cornish pulled away from her through the last 1000m of the race.

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3 months ago

She wins wave 1 at OTs, making her one of the best in the country, if not the world at this event, and is still 82 seconds behind Ledecky. I know that someday someone will break Ledecky’s records, but her times are just next level.

Reply to  96Swim
3 months ago

Not to diminish her accomplishment, but this is Wave 1. There are like 45 swimmers seeded in front of her for Wave 2. Ledecky is completely next level. May be many, many years before anyone touches those times.

Reply to  Caldreamin
3 months ago

What did posting this comment do for you? You’re comparing a 17 year old to professional swimmers and the most dominant swimmer of all time. Behind a keyboard no less. The fact of the matter is that she is one of the best swimmers in the country, and although wave 1 was slower than wave 2 is gonna be, her win/time solidifies that. I hope she reads your comment and laughs when she’s on the Olympic team come 2024.

Reply to  Caldreamin
3 months ago

How did you do in wave 1?

Reply to  Caldreamin
3 months ago

Pretty sure she’s aware that she’s not Katie Ledecky. Just sounded super happy to get to swim again and not mess up again. But good for you for knowing there are about 45 swimmers ahead of her in wave 2. If you’re one of them or Coach one of them, I think that’s next level especially during a pandemic.

3 months ago

5:06.03 on the 2nd 500 meters? 5:06.22 on the final 500 meters? Is there a 30 missing somewhere?

Reply to  Smith-King-Dahlia-Manuel
3 months ago

Yeah gotta be 5:36 on those back 2.

3 months ago

The FINA rule concerning counters is a bit odd, in my opinion, and I was wondering if it ever caused issues. I understand the argument that at this level you should know where you are in a race or that you can alter your breathing to see the counter on deck but this one seems like a strange rule. I hope the in water counters used in RIO and Kazan (if I’m remembering correctly) become more common (or approved) so USA Swimming (and other Federations) don’t need to request permission to use them in major meets.

Unknown Swimmer
3 months ago

Those splits look amazing! Although I think they should be 5:30/5:36/5:36…

3 months ago

She’s about to destroy D3 next year…

3 months ago

Why don’t they put the counter in the water during Trials and the Olympics? Just wondering…

Reply to  Minushka71
3 months ago

All the foreign swimmers I swam with in college (well Canadians) said that no one actually uses counters and if you need one people make fun of you.

I don’t know if this was true or just to poke fun of the guy who wanted to see the counter every length of a 500.

Reply to  Minushka71
3 months ago

I often ask people to please NOT count for me. (Unaware swimmers sometimes rush over to ‘volunteer’ when they see my empty lane, and I’m busy swimming and can’t do anything about that.) It would be fine if they just put it in the water in the left corner of my lane every couple of hundred. “In the corner, please!” But folks seem to think it helps me if they shake it up and down, right on the “T”, and then hold it in place until the last second, making me worry about hitting it. (I have seen that happen.) I just glance at the counters in the next lane until we get out of sync. Or ignore it all… Read more »

3 months ago

What a splendid interview!

Reply to  Marsh
3 months ago

Yes. I love to hear a swimmer speak so highly and intelligently of their mom/dad/guardian/coach, etc. She failed forward in the 800 and owned/ learned from her mistakes.

jonny sus
3 months ago

Wowza, she did a great job indeed! Badger is doing very well at olympic trials I see. It’s only a matter of time before the Dark Horse qualifies for the games and dethrones the Hungarian Prince, Kristóf Milák. Citations will come soon.

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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