Erica Sullivan Swims 9:17 in 1000 Free; Jumps to #3 All-Time


The 2018 King Marlin Swim Club Pro-Am Classic opened up with its traditional distance day, including a statement-making swim from 18-year old US National Team swimmer Erica Sullivan.

Sullivan, who sat out the fall semester at USC but who is expected to join the team in January, swam a 9:17.32 in the women’s 1000 free to win by 51 seconds. Only two swimmers in history, Katie Ledecky (8:59.65 best) and Kaite Hoff (9:10.77 best) have been faster than that swim. Hoff has only been faster once (she didn’t swim in college, limiting her racing opportunities in the 1000), while Ledecky has been faster 11 times. That makes Sullivan’s swim the 13th-best performance in history. Both Ledecky and Hoff swam their best times while still in the 17-18 age group, meaning Sullivan also ranks 3rd there.

Sullivan, representing her home club the Sandpipers of Nevada at the meeet, undercut her personal best by 10-and-a-half seconds with the swim. Her previous fastest was a 9:27.89 from the 2017 Winter Nationals.

Sullivan qualified for the US National Team this year in 3 events: the 800 free (5th, 8:26.27); the 1500 free (5th, 16:02.88), and in the open water 10km swim (3rd).

All-Time Top 5 Performers, Women’s 1000 Free:

  1. Katie Ledecky, 8:59.65
  2. Katie Hoff, 9:10.77
  3. Erica Sullivan, 9:17.32
  4. Kate Ziegler, 9:18.25
  5. Leah Smith, 9:20.15

The men’s race was won by former Texas Longhorn Clark Smith, who swam an 8:53.93. That’s the 3rd-best time of his career, though it’s (exactly) 20 seconds slower than his American Record in the event set in 2015.

Sullivan’s 18-year old Sandpiper teammates Joseph Gutierrez (9:01.56) and Brennan Gravley (9:05.42) took 2nd and 3rd, respectively, and the Sandpiper distance group took the 2nd-through-6th spots in the event.

Other Day 1 Event Winners:

  • Dallas Mustangs won the men’s 200 medley relay in 1:34.44, with a relay of Carson Brcokette (24.68), Henry Wang (25.96), Peter Paulus (22.16), and Connor Gamble (21.64).
  • Sandpipers of Nevada won the men’s 800 free relay in 6:53.95, and they didn’t even need any of that 2nd-through-6th group of 1000 freestylers from above.
  • The women’s 200 medley relay was won by a group of unattached Schroeder YMCA swimmers in 1:41.88.
  • The Sandpipers of Nevada women won the 800 free relay by 5-and-a-half seconds in 7:53.77 (without Sullivan on the relay).

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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