Gutsy Approach to 800 Free Delivers a Pan Am Record for Sierra Schmidt

Sierra Schmidt, one of the best junior distance swimmers in the world, was out incredibly hard in the 800 free, shooting out to a lead of 2.69 seconds at the 200 mark over Canada’s Brittany MacLean. Schmidt continued to push ahead, distancing herself from the pack, although Chile’s Kristel Köbrich, the defending champion in this race, made a move at around the 500 mark. She split three 31 highs while Schmidt stayed at 32 lows, but the NBAC 17-year-old Schmidt closed strong and came to the wall at 8:27.54 for the win and a new Pan Ams record. Köbrich finished in 2nd (8:29.79), while Venezuela’s Andreina Pinto won bronze (8:31.08).

Schmidt, who recently grabbed a personal best of 8:28.91 in June at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Santa Clara, took down a record from 1999 that belonged to American great Kaitlyn Sandeno. Sandeno’s 16-year-old record sat at 8:34.65, and the top four finishers in this race actually got under that. Canada’s Brittany MacLean was 4th in 8:32.06, significantly under the old record herself.

A look at Schmidt’s splits, by 200:

2:02.91/2:08.06/2:09.06/2:07.51 = 8:27.54

It’s clear that Schmidt took this race out with plenty of tenacity, though she was still able to come home nicely. Regardless of her race strategy, Schmidt now possesses the 12th-best time in the world this year, which is the 5th fastest time by an American.

2014-2015 LCM Women 800 Free

KatieUSA
LEDECKY
08/08
8.07.39*WR
2Lauren
BOYLE
NZL8.17.6508/08
3Jazmin
CARLIN
GBR8.18.1508/08
4Jessica
ASHWOOD
AUS8.18.4108/08
5Lotte
FRIIS
DEN8.21.3608/08
6Boglarka
KAPAS
HUN8.22.9308/08
7Sarah
KOHLER
GER8.23.6708/08
8Sharon
VAN ROUWENDAAL
NED8.24.1208/08
9Becca
MANN
USA8.24.1301/30
10Leah
SMITH
USA8.24.7406/19
11Lindsay
VROOMAN
USA8.26.6707/10
12Leonie Antonia
BECK
GER8.27.3704/09
View Top 26»

That was Schmidt’s only swim of the meet, but she has proven herself to be a top distance force this year and has paved the way for future success with a great time and some valuable experience.

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NickH

Her 400 split would’ve placed her 5th in the 400 final, ahead of Kiera Janzen.

Susan

Great Swim by Sierra!! — But come on Swimswam- surely you can come up with a better photo than that

barbotus

Possibly, but her warm-up dances are legendary. That pic just caught her in mid-groove.

ta

Good to see a young swimmer so happy at the end of her race.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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