Faster Than Ledecky At 16: Summer McIntosh Drops 4:27.52 500 Free, #2 All-Time


It didn’t take long for 16-year-old Canadian superstar Summer McIntosh to make an impact in the all-time rankings in short course yards.

Making her SCY debut at the Winter Junior Championships – East in Greensboro, N.C., McIntosh became the fastest 16 & under swimmer ever and the second-fastest of all-time in the girls’ 500 freestyle, putting up a blistering time of 4:27.52.

McIntosh’s swim is more than a second faster than the existing U.S. National Age Group Record in the girls’ 15-16 age group, which belongs to Katie Ledecky at 4:28.71.

Ledecky is the only swimmer in history who has ever been faster than McIntosh, having set the U.S. Open and American Record of 4:24.06 at the 2017 NCAA Championships while competing for Stanford University.

In this morning’s prelims, McIntosh swam a time of 4:34.15, which made her the fourth-fastest 16 & under swimmer behind Ledecky, Bella Sims (4:32.13) and Katie Grimes (4:32.97).

McIntosh’s time in the final also broke her own meet record from the prelims, and downed Ledecky’s Greensboro Aquatic Center Pool Record of 4:29.54 set in 2014.

Here’s a split comparison of McIntosh’s prelim and finals swims, along with Ledecky’s all-time record and her current 15-16 NAG record:

Split Comparison – per 50

Summer McIntosh – Prelims Summer McIntosh – Finals Katie Ledecky @16
Katie Ledecky Personal Best
50 24.97 24.34 24.68 24.41
100 27.16 26.60 26.47 26.24
150 27.62 26.72 26.86 26.18
200 27.73 26.79 26.96 26.66
250 27.78 26.94 27.13 26.58
300 27.54 27.00 27.37 27.00
350 27.74 27.31 27.30 27.04
400 27.88 27.42 27.51 27.03
450 28.23 27.61 27.87 26.89
500 27.50 26.79 26.56 26.03
Final Time 4:34.15 4:27.52 4:28.71 4:24.06

Split Comparison – per 100

Summer McIntosh – Prelims Summer McIntosh – Finals Katie Ledecky @16
Katie Ledecky Personal Best
100y 52.13 50.94 51.15 50.65
200y 55.35 53.51 53.82 52.84
300y 55.32 53.94 54.50 53.58
400y 55.62 54.73 54.81 54.07
500y 55.73 54.40 54.43 52.92

McIntosh is just the third swimmer ever under the 4:30 barrier, joining Ledecky and Leah Smith.

All-Time Performers, Women’s 500 Freestyle

  1. Katie Ledecky, 4:24.06 – 2017
  2. Summer McIntosh, 4:27.52 – 2022
  3. Leah Smith, 4:28.90 – 2017
  4. Katie Hoff, 4:30.47 – 2007
  5. Dagny Knutson, 4:31.18 – 2009

Ledecky has still been quicker than McIntosh’s time tonight on seven separate occasions, though they all came after her 17th birthday.

All-Time Performances, Women’s 500 Freestyle

  1. Katie Ledecky, 4:24.06 – 2017
  2. Katie Ledecky, 4:25.15 – 2017
  3. Katie Ledecky, 4:26.09 – 2018
  4. Katie Ledecky, 4:26.46 – 2016
  5. Katie Ledecky, 4:26.57 – 2018
  6. Katie Ledecky, 4:26.58 – 2015
  7. Katie Ledecky, 4:27.21 – 2015
  8. Summer McIntosh, 4:27.52 – 2022
  9. Katie Ledecky, 4:27.54 – 2016
  10. Katie Ledecky, 4:27.84 – 2017

McIntosh and Ledecky have had several memorable duels this year, including two in the last month and a half.

At the Toronto stop of the 2022 FINA World Cup circuit, McIntosh (3:52.80) out-touched Ledecky (3:52.88) by eight one-hundredths in the women’s 400 freestyle (short course meters) to become the second-fastest performer of all-time, and last weekend at the U.S. Open, Ledecky returned the favor in long course, beating McIntosh by the same margin.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Tracy Kosinski
1 month ago

Every time I watch SM race I have to pinch myself because I think I’m dreaming. Contemplating the records this girl has broken and will break gives me goosebumps. Spectacular swim yet again.

I remember Tokyo 2020 and how nervous and unsure she looked compared to today. Bearing witness to this beautiful young lady growing up into the WR holder we all know she’ll become is a dream come true.

Which WR will she break first? Dammmmmn.

Thank you, Summer!

1 month ago

Sanders reign of being the fastest Summer ever is about to come to an end

Reply to  Meathead
1 month ago

Not till at least 2024 as Summer Sanders has Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.

Andy Hardt
1 month ago

Wow, incredible time!

1 month ago

Dang! And now sims and grimes went 4:28 and 4:29 as well!

Reply to  Swimfan
1 month ago

5 women have now been under 4:30, 3 of them did it today!

D3 Coach
Reply to  Dan
1 month ago

After some lull in middle distance on the women’s side relative to the men’s, things are about to go crazy. The generation that grew up watching Ledecky is all grown up and that’s incredibly exciting as an old distance swimmer.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  D3 Coach
1 month ago

Yep. But still a void at 800+ other than Ledecky. I’m convinced the same chipping should be happening to those all-time lists but the elite talents on the women’s side just don’t want to make it a priority. As soon as they discover strength in shorter events or medleys they relegate/dump anything distance. It’s convenient nonsense to pretend those 800+ numbers are untouchable. Swimming needs its own version of Letesenbet Gidey.

1 month ago

great swim. a heads up the visualization graphic shows Ledecky’s PB as the 4:26.5 rather than the 4:24.0

1 month ago

Mattes and Bowen going times that would get a night swim at NCAAs but don’t even get in the camera shot at Winter Juniors. Brutal.

Last edited 1 month ago by Togger
1 month ago

How can Jrs have such a lame announcer? Not a word during Summer’s incredible swim. Wtf?

super classy swim
Reply to  Fluidg
1 month ago

put me up to the job pls

Dale Nesbitt
Reply to  Fluidg
1 month ago

It’s because she’s Canadian.

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Fluidg
1 month ago

He was very clear that the relay teams need to report

Reply to  Fluidg
1 month ago

The non-announcer is unacceptable. His go-to line: “Thank you, swimmers.” Silence would be an improvement. Come on USA Swimming. These swimmers and fans deserve better!

D3 Coach
1 month ago

So does this count as the NAG record? Or not because she’s a Canadian national? My gut says no but her representing Sarasota is throwing me off

Last edited 1 month ago by D3 Coach
Reply to  D3 Coach
1 month ago

She can’t get NAGs because she isn’t American.

King of Canada
Reply to  CanSwimFan
1 month ago

But Ilya kharun has nag records though??

Reply to  King of Canada
1 month ago

He doesn’t anymore.

Reply to  CanSwimFan
1 month ago

Can dual citizens get NAGs if they represent another country internationally? That was an issue of contention in track and fields for ages. USATF finally changed the rules so dual citizens representing other countries can’t get American records even when competing NCAA. (They changed it because of Mondo Duplantis, lol.)

Reply to  D3 Coach
1 month ago

Would be Canadian NR & NAG, if they kept yards records

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

Read More »