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2017 U.S. NATIONALS/WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS TRIALS
- Tuesday, June 27th-Saturday, July 1st
- 50-Meter Course
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Meet Info
There’s only one spot on the Worlds team in the women’s 1500 free – and that spot has a 99.99999% chance of falling into Katie Ledecky‘s hands. Not that she hasn’t worked for it, but she’s simply so far ahead that there’s no way someone is catching her. Since 2015, her 15:25.48 from Kazan Worlds is still almost forty seconds ahead of Becca Mann‘s 16:05.42 from the 2015 Charlotte Pro Swim Series. Mann has been dealing with injury of late, and hasn’t actually swum a 1500 since that 16:05 from two years ago.
The gap between the rest of the field and Ledecky will likely be shortened by Leah Smith. She’s been the closest thing to Ledecky out of any American, and while she hasn’t swum this event in three years, she’s in great position to finish 2nd here. Her best time, from 2014 Summer Nationals, is a 16:27.37. She’s progressed significantly since ’14, of course, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see her smash through the 16:00 barrier. Some important times to keep in mind while Smith’s racing:
- Lotte Friis (2nd-best performer all-time) – 15:38.88
- Kate Ziegler (previous AR/WR holder before Ledecky) – 15:42.54
- Janet Evans (AR/WR holder for nearly 20 years before Ziegler) – 15:52.10
Meanwhile, the chase pack will be made up of a bunch of familiar names in the American distance swimming landscape.
Hannah Moore of NC State and G Ryan of Michigan have both been in the 16:20’s this year, and they rank #2 and #3, respectively, behind Ledecky (for Americans). Moore (16:22.96) has a best time which is just under 16:20, while the 16:25.64 is Ryan’s lifetime best, done at the Atlanta PSS this past May.
With Ledecky comes a couple other Stanford rising sophomores in tow– Leah Stevens and Megan Byrnes continue to improve after making the move to Palo Alto, and both are in the 16:30’s. So are Sierra Schmidt and Chenoa Devine. Schmidt’s best time (16:12.84) is much faster than anyone besides Ledecky has ever been, but she hasn’t been able to come very close to it since. Meanwhile, the other three all went lifetime bests, in the same race, at the Santa Clara PSS. Recent Auburn graduate Ashley Neidigh won the SEC title in the yards version of this race, and she’s due for a big drop. Her personal best is a 16:53, and she dropped almost 17 seconds in the 1650 from 2016 to 2017– something in the 16:30’s wouldn’t be surprising.
Taylor Ault and Madelyn Donohoe raced at the 2017 Mel Zajac meet, going 16:41.01 and 16:46.37, respectively. Meanwhile, Erica Sullivan, also a teenager, posted a 16:46.26 in May, as well. Her and Joy Field went 1-3 in this race last summer at Jr Pan Pacs, and while Field hasn’t even swum this event this spring, both girls could easily sneak up for a top 3 or 4 finish.
It’s unclear whether or not open water stars Ashley Twichell and Haley Anderson will contest this event, or if they’ll even race in the pool this summer. If they choose to, then both have the chops to make the final, but it’s still up in the air so they won’t be in our top 8 predictions.
TOP 8 PREDICTIONS:
|PLACE||SWIMMER||BEST TIME SINCE 2015||PREDICTED TIME|
Dark horse: Leah Braswell of York YMCA. Braswell, at 16, won the 2017 YMCA SC title in the mile after touching 2nd in the 1000. She’s been 16:48.34 this past May, which was a drop of more than 20 seconds and her first venture under 17 minutes.