Katie Ledecky Confirms She’s Not Planning On Swimming 200 Free In Paris

2024 U.S. OLYMPIC TRIALS

Katie Ledecky has all but confirmed what everyone has speculated all meet—she’s not planning on racing the women’s 200 freestyle individually at the Paris Olympics.

After winning last night’s 200 free final, Ledecky spoke to media on Tuesday morning and said she won’t race the event in Paris provided “all goes well” in her remaining events at the Trials, the 800 and 1500 free.

“I mean nothing formally gets decided until the end of the week, because I’ve got to do what I want to do in the 800 and the mile, but if all goes well I’m not planning on swimming it individually in Paris,” Ledecky said of the 200 free. “But I will be swimming the relay.”

Ledecky soared to a dominant win in the 200 free final on Monday, clocking a time of 1:55.22 to finish nearly a second clear of runner-up Claire Weinstein (1:56.18).

Provided Ledecky secures individual berths in Paris in the 800 and 1500 free later in the meet—which she will barring a DQ or illness—her withdrawal from the 200 free will open the door for Paige Madden to race the 200 free in Paris after she was 3rd in the final in 1:56.36.

Madden qualified alongside Ledecky at the beginning of the meet in the 400 free.

At previous Trials, a withdrawal from one of the top finishers in the 200 free would open up a roster spot for the 7th-place finisher, like we saw last year when Ledecky opting out allowed Anna Peplowski to the Worlds team. We saw the same situation occur in 2012, when Michael Phelps pulled out of the 200 free to allow Davis Tarwater on the team.

However, USA Swimming has updated its Olympic selection criteria which means the 7th-place finisher won’t be added this year. Taking 7th in the final was Simone Manuel, who had a strong showing in the 100 free prelims on Tuesday and is a favorite to qualify on Wednesday night with up to six spots available in the 100 free or 400 free relay.

WOMEN’S 200 FREE — FINAL

  1. Katie Ledecky (GSC-FL), 1:55.22
  2. Claire Weinstein (SAND), 1:56.18
  3. Paige Madden (NYAC), 1:56.36
  4. Erin Gemmell (NCAP), 1:56.75
  5. Anna Peplowski (ISC), 1:57.04
  6. Alex Shackell (CSC-IN), 1:57.05
  7. Simone Manuel (SUN), 1:57.13
  8. Katie Grimes (SAND), 1:57.33

Ledecky won the 2016 Olympic gold medal in the 200 free, setting what remains her personal best time of 1:53.73, but only placed 5th at the Tokyo Games and has opted not to contest it at each of the last two World Championships (2022 and 2023). The U.S. only had one finalist in the 200 free between those two meets.

Given the presence of the two fastest women in history, Australians Ariarne Titmus and Mollie O’Callaghan, along with sub-1:54 swimmers Summer McIntosh and Siobhan Haughey, Ledecky’s chances at a medal would be thin at best in Paris.

She is, however, excited to tackle the 800 free relay with Weinstein, Madden, fellow NCAP product Erin Gemmell, Peplowski and Alex Shackell.

“That’s why I keep swimming the 200,” Ledecky said of the 800 free relay. “I just want to continue to be ready for that relay, push the other girls individually to try and get our team faster and I know we really want to put up a great showing and we have such a great history in that relay that I think we’re very motivated to do really well there.”

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Genevieve Nnaji
1 month ago

*shocked Pikachu face*

PBJswimming
1 month ago

comment image

Masters Swimmer
1 month ago

Question: Does anyone know how many times in swimming history has a USA swimmer who won their event at OTs opted not to swim it the Olympics?

devil’s advocate
Reply to  Masters Swimmer
1 month ago

Phelps did pulled out of the 200 back in Beijing after making the team so either Piersol or Lochte could swim. Forget which guy it was but it’s a relatively uncommon thing to do. Gotta be good enough to qualify for the Olympics in too many events💀

I_Said_It
Reply to  devil’s advocate
1 month ago

He finished 2nd to Piersol in the 200 Back and opted out in 2004. it was Bryce Hunt made the team in the event

M L
Reply to  Masters Swimmer
1 month ago

Phelps did it again in the 2012 200 free, letting Davis Tarwater onto the team

Sub13
1 month ago

It’s cute that she’s pretending there is any chance she misses the 800 or 1500

John
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Nothing in life is guaranteed my friend

Sub13
Reply to  John
1 month ago

The only way this isn’t guaranteed is if she gets hit by a bus between now and the final

maheny
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

yeah so… like he said, nothing is guranteed

M d e
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Yeah I feel like even if she got DQd they would take her. Like we did with Thorpe in 04.

Laps
Reply to  M d e
1 month ago

If Ledecky is ill and misses the final the pressure on the second qualifier to give up their spot would be insane and they eventually would like Craig Stevens did for Thorpe.

J C
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

She is humble. So amazing and so likeable. An Aussie here and full of respect.

The world has got faster in this event, the fact she remains so fast in the longer events as she has got older, is a testament to what a remarkable athlete she is. Without the 200FR heat and final, she will be better placed to win her favoured 800/1500 double. I’m curious to see what she does in the 400FR. She almost always goes faster at big meets from trials. Ariane will go low 3.55, I think Summer could be in the 3.55’s too.

Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

Wish she had made this call after prelims. Then Sims could’ve scratched into semis

LBSWIM
Reply to  Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

Sims wasn’t going to swim any faster, unfortunately.

Sub13
Reply to  Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

Based on her other swims there is roughly a 0% chance she would have been top 6 anyway

RMS
Reply to  Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

Did you see Sims 100 free? No shade but Bella wasn’t making it.

I miss the ISL (go dawgs)
Reply to  Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

So Bella could get 16th in semis?

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

Give it up already!

Genevieve Nnaji
Reply to  Barbossa Andrew 🐍
1 month ago

Why?

Ledecky said she wants to inspire 200 girls to swim faster.

If she scratched semifinal, she wouldn’t have inspired them.

There was a way for Sims to swim in the final:

Swim faster.

But she didn’t.

Last edited 1 month ago by Genevieve Nnaji
RMS
1 month ago

If Simone makes it in the 100, she could swim prelims in the 800 free relay, giving another swimmer more rest for the final.

Yikes
Reply to  RMS
1 month ago

I think we learned the lesson of having too many prelim swimmers to swap in fukuoka

RMS
Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

I think Simone can be much faster in her 200. It wouldn’t hurt.

Swim
Reply to  RMS
1 month ago

Simone’s flip at the 100m mark can be a factor of maybe 1 second improvement.

JoeB
Reply to  Yikes
1 month ago

Nothing the U.S. puts in the water is going to make a difference in the women’s 400 and 800 free relays when it comes to which country is going to win the Olympic gold medal.

Sub13
Reply to  RMS
1 month ago

They can always do this. Almost always USA and Australia could field full swaps in most relays but it can bite you so they usually don’t.

M d e
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Yep bit us in the ass not leaving room to move mollie into the final back in Tokyo.

NoFastTwitch
Reply to  RMS
1 month ago

For the US and Australia, the most important thing in the relay prelim is to make sure no one jumps.

Genevieve Nnaji
Reply to  NoFastTwitch
1 month ago

GBR Fukuoka men 4×100 free has left the chat.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
Reply to  RMS
1 month ago

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Troyy
1 month ago

So they rearranged the schedule after she complained about the 200/1500 clash and now she’s not gonna swim it. Will be interesting to see how many people actually enter both these events in Paris. They should’ve fixed the men’s 800 free/4×200 clash instead which is more common.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

So much schedule saltiness

Meow
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

She was never, ever going to swim this event individually.

Eddie
1 month ago

Simone will make the team in the 100 or the 4×100 relay and then probably swim the 4×200 prelims or something

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 …

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