Greg Meehan: “That 200IM was one of the best swims I’ve ever seen”

Reported by Lauren Neidigh.


  • NCAA Record: Katie Ledecky (Stanford), 2018, 3:56.53
  • American Record: Katie Ledecky (Stanford), 2018, 3:56.53
  • Championship Record: Katinka Hosszu (USC), 2012, 3:56.54
  • 2017 Champion: Ella Eastin (Stanford), 3:57.57
  1. GOLD: Ella Eastin, Stanford, 3:54.60
  2. SILVER: Katie Ledecky, Stanford, 3:58.29
  3. BRONZE: Sydney Pickrem, Texas A&M, 3:59.05

Stanford’s Katie Ledecky took it out with a 54.55 on fly, leading under American Record pace. Teammate Ella Eastin pulled slightly ahead through backstroke, flipping over half a second ahead of Ledecky. Eastin was leading by a body length after the first 50 breast, and touched was 4 seconds ahead of Ledecky and 3 seconds under American Record pace. She continued to build her lead on Ledecky through the first half of the free leg, and she was way too far ahead for anyone to close on her by that point. Eastin destroyed the American Record by 2 seconds.

Texas A&M’s Sydney Pickrem pulled ahead of Ledecky on the breast leg, but Ledecky came through on the free leg to give the Cardinal a 1-2 finish. Another Cardinal, Brooke Forde, nearly made it a top 3 sweep. She moved up to trail Pickrem by just a tenth with 50 yards to go, but Pickrem outsplit her down the stretch to out-touch Forde as she clipped her best from SECs. Forde broke 4:00 for the first time in 3:59.30, followed by Texas A&M’s Bethany Galat.

In the B heat, Denver’s Bailey Andison trailed halfway, but made a big move on the breast leg to take the lead. She held on through the freestyle leg to top Ohio State’s Kristen Romano, 4:03.83 to 4:04.56. Texas’ Evie Pfeifer led through backstroke. She fell back on the breast leg, but pulled into 3rd on the free leg with a 4:05.32.


  1. GOLD: Ally Howe, Stanford, 49.70
  2. SILVER: Beata Nelson, Wisconsin, 49.92
  3. BRONZE: Kathleen Baker, Cal, 50.18

Cal’s Kathleen Baker led a tight field halfway in 24.02, under record post. It was still 3 women neck-and-neck into the final turn, as Wisconsin’s Beata Nelson and Stanford’s Ally Howe trailed by hundredths. Howe shot off the final wall, followed closely by Nelson, as Baker faded to 3rd. Howe got her hand to the wall first just a hundredth shy of her own record, with Nelson just a couple of tenths back.

Baker ended up 3rd, just hundredths shy of her season best. NC State’s Elise Haan took a few tenths off her best to finish 4th in 50.42, making her the 10th fastest performer ever in this event. Stanford’s Janet Hu racked up another top 5 finish, narrowly behind in 50.63.

Kentucky’s Asia Seidt outside smoked the B final, racing to a 51.06 ahead of Cal’s Amy Bilquist(51.51) and Georgia’s Kylie Stewart (51.55).

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I don’t know how else to put this but I sort of am bummed to hear Ella Eastin isn’t s good trainer. As a former swimmer, I know what it’s like to be super good in training and watch those who aren’t, consistently do better at meets. It’s really cool to see her teammates still supporting her as well as they do, but it’s a little disappointing to hear that she doesn’t trains good. You could see that in the way Greg was talking about it that even he struggled to describe her training. I think we as a sport pride the idea of the only way to get better is to train better, but then we have the Caleb’s… Read more »


There isn’t a direct correlation between fast training times and fast racing, What matters if effort and consistency and Caeleb and Ella must be some of the most consistent workers in the pool to throw down the times they do. Both of them also have a great racing mentality that some of the fastest trainers in the world might not have. At the end of the day some people are better racers than trainers and vice versa. People like Clark Smith might be the best trainers on the planet but lack the racing mentality at times


In my experience, there is absolutely a direct correlation between fast training times and fast racing. If you haven’t done it in training (held race pace on short rest) then there won’t be any miracles. On the other hand, long, grinding sets swim way above race pace don’t make a swimmer fast, even though the sets may be demanding. Clark Smith won the most epic battle in 1650 history, beating four other competitors, neck and neck, who all broke the oldest record in the books–and he did it with a painful groin pull that left him barely able to walk. Smith never has to prove his guts or courage ever again to anyone. Pick on someone who hasn’t accomplished superhuman… Read more »


No one questions her work ethic. She’s not slacking or quitting in workouts; she’s just got a different physiology, probably muscle mass that breaks down until she gets a recovery cycle. Your comment isn’t surprising though because swimming has an enormous number of trainers who aren’t really competitors. The point of training is to race fast. I’ve always been confounded by swimmers who actually swim faster in training than in meets. How messed up is that?


Maybe they’re just super good taper swimmers and really slow under a heavy load?

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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