Katie Ledecky goes 1:54.66 in 200 Free, Once Again Faster Than Tokyo


  • February 10-13, 2022
  • Rosen Aquatic Center
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Long Course Meters (50m)
  • Results via “Meet Mobile” – “2022 Southern Zone South Sectional Championships”

Katie Ledecky was on a roll for the second night in a row at the 2022 Southern Zone South Sectional Championships, swimming a 1:54.66 to win the 200 freestyle, which was faster than the 1:55.21 she swam at the Tokyo Olympics last summer to finish 5th. The time is her seventh-fastest swim in the event, and the fastest she has been since the April 2021 TYR Pro Swim Series in Mission Viejo, when she went 1:54.40.

In prelims, she swam a 1:56.09 and dropped 1.43 seconds in finals. 

Ledecky’s time at sectionals in the 200 freestyle would have won the bronze medal at the 2021 Olympics, ahead of actual bronze medal winner Penny Oleksiak (1:54.70). In addition, her time from Friday is also 0.26 seconds off of the U.S. Open Record of 1:54.40 shared by her and Allison Schmitt. Ledecky’s best time is a 1:53.73 from the Rio 2016 Olympics, en-route to taking gold.

Comparative Splits:

Splits KATIE LEDECKY– 1:54.66 (Orlando, 2022) KATIE LEDECKY– 1:55.21 (Tokyo 2020) KATIE LEDECKY– 1:53.73 (Rio 2016), personal best
50 27.45 27.15 27.00
100 29.28 29.00 28.43
150 28.97 29.40 29.12
200 28.96 29.66 29.18

In Ledecky’s Rio and Tokyo swims, her splits got increasingly slower, which is how she has paced the majority of her 200 races.

In her race on Friday, Ledecky’s slowest split was the 2nd 50, and she descended the race outside of her initial 50. Despite not negative splitting the race (56.43/57.93), she closed in 28.96, which was her fastest final 50 since 2014 Nationals where she closed in a 28.94 and swam a time of 1:55.16. These two races are also the only instances when Ledecky has come home sub-29 seconds. 

Ledecky negative split her 800 free on Thursday in a time of 8:11.83 (4:05.98/4:05.85), which was also faster than she was in Tokyo to win gold. Her recent performances indicate that training at the University of Florida has improved her closing speed, which is similar to the way that her new training partner Bobby Finke closed his races in Tokyo. 

Ledecky switched her training base from Stanford to Florida last fall, and is training under Anthony Nesty in Florida with a star-studded group of Olympic medalists including Finke, Caeleb Dressel, Natalie Hinds, and Kieran Smith.

Hinds finished 2nd in the race in a time of 2:00.60, which is a new personal best for her. Her previous best is a 2:01.30 from the 2020 TYR Pro Swim Series in Des Moines. Addison Sauickie, a high school sophomore from the Sarasota Sharks swim club, finished 3rd (2:00.91).

Ledecky also swam the 400 IM on Friday, touching 1st in 4:39.68 to shed 1.2 seconds off her prelims time of 4:40.88. This is her fifth-fastest performance in the event, and her first time going sub-4:40 since January 2019 at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Knoxville. Her best time is a 4:38.18 from 2017.

Her splits were as follows: 

Butterfly Backstroke Breaststroke Freestyle Finish
1:03.45 (29.27/31.18) 1:12.27 (36.70/35.57) 1:22.84 (41.06/41.78) 1:01.12 (31.12/30.00) 4:39.68.

Class of 2027 Florida commit and Sarasota Sharks swimmer Michaela Mattes finished 2nd (4:48.33), and Canadian swimmer Megan Wheeler was 3rd (4:50.22).

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9 months ago

Great to see Natalie Hinds swimming great as well. COM in the house!

9 months ago

I think the biggest redemption for ledecky would be to go faster than what titmus did in the 400 at the Olympics… I think she would be 356 in the 400 this weekend

Reply to  Swimfan
9 months ago

Love to see her swimming fast but there isn’t any “redemption” showdown til 2024….

Reply to  Caleb
9 months ago

Yeah, ask Carson Foster if he feels “redeemed” in the 400 IM.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Swimfan
9 months ago

That’s not how “redemption” work.

Reply to  Swimfan
9 months ago

This prediction from Swimfan was of course on point as always.

9 months ago

Y’all never learn, she does this every year. She swims fast early and then falls off late. One day y’all will stop overreacting to these swims from her

Reply to  BSD
9 months ago

Yeah I’m sure you don’t struggle when you go to the olympics with morning finals and swim 200-400-800-1500. lol get bent

Reply to  Swimlikefishdrinklikefish
9 months ago

And relays

9 months ago


Werner Swimzog
9 months ago

Great to see, but a little sad to think she could’ve been faster then with a different coach. You gotta change things up sometimes but it is often hard to see that in the moment.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Werner Swimzog
9 months ago

A career of 9.5 years , the peak has been a clear 4 years in ( 4- 6 for the 1500. ) . So far.

Reply to  Werner Swimzog
9 months ago

I think it is more due to Covid interruptions in training than coaching.

Texas Tap Water
Reply to  Anonymous
9 months ago

EVERYONE has Covid interruptions in training, my dude

9 months ago

Training swim

9 months ago

She would have tied for 5th on the men’s side, which is kind of crazy in a 200. I realize this is not super elite competition, but the guys aren’t exactly slow.

9 months ago

Make you wish even more that hopefully titmus will race in Budapest

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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