14-year old Katie Ledecky of the Curl Burke Swim Club is on fire at this weekend’s National Age Group Challenge meet that annually pits some of the best times along the Eastern seaboard against each other. This year’s meet was hosted at the Germantown Swim Center in Maryland.
Ledecky broke two National Age Group Records at the meet, starting with a blistering 4:35.14 on Saturday in the 500 free. That breaks one of the great NAG marks in the country by over four seconds. The previous mark was held by the legendary Cynthia Woodhead all the way back in 1978 at 4:39.94.
Not only was that time a National Age Group Record, it was about 1.7 seconds short of the National High School Record as only a freshman, and would have placed her 3rd at NCAA’s last year.
She continued her great introduction to the broader swimming community earlier on Sunday with another monstrous win in the 1000 free where she touched in 9:29.81, which is another National Age Group Record. That mark too was an ancient one, and again Ledecky made dust of it. The previous mark was held by Michele Richardson at 9:33.39 in 1984.
For those who are interested in her pacing, in the 500 free she swam 100’s of 52.9 – 56.1 – 56.0 – 55.6 – 54.3. In the 1000, she very-nearly negative-split the race by going out in a 4:46.88 and coming back in a 4:43.0, which is phenomenal pacing for such a young swimmer. When you compare that to the other swimmers in her age group at this meet, who are also outstanding swimmers, that pacing was more like 5:08-5:19, which is a more
She also put up very fast times in her other events – the 200 free was 1:47.76 (which is still three seconds away from Missy Franklin’s record) and a 2:04.25 in the 200 IM (which is again eons away from what Missy did at 14). She also led off both Curl-Burke free relays in splits of 23.8 and 51.7. That comes to a total of 5 meet records in 6 flat-starts for Ledecky (the 100 didn’t quite clear Cierra Runge’s 50.93 set last year).
Ledecky won two races at this summer’s Junior Nationals, the 400 and 800 LCM freestyles, and nearly set meet records in the process. She did set a Meet Record in the 1500 free in 16:24.26. She doesn’t turn 15 until March 17th.
Full results from the meet available here.