Women’s 800 Freestyle – 2014 Austin Grand Prix – as reported by Jared Anderson / SwimSwam
Danish national record-holder Lotte Friis led early, but Katie Ledecky completed a thrilling comeback, gaining on Friis steadily from about the 350-mark onward and erasing the two-second lead the Dane had built up. Ledecky first took the lead at the 650-meter turn and powered away from there to go 8:26.70. That’s a bit off her 8:13.86 World Record from last summer, but still an awfully good swim for January 19th.
Friis took second in 8:28.65. Those two were completely checked out from the rest of the pack early on.
Canada’s Savannah King finished third in 8:38.87, a tenth ahead of Chloe Sutton, who went 8:38.93. Ledecky’s new training partner Isabella Rongione finished fifth in 8:47.39 and behind her was the top swim out of the morning heats, 13-year-old Madison Homovich of NCAC. Leah Stevens was 8:49.68, just behind Homovich’s 8:49.49 and NCAP’s Megan Byrnes took 8th place.
WOMEN’S 200 IM – FINALS
Coming off her 4th place 200 fly finish, Cal’s Caitlin Leverenz got a better result in the 200 IM. The U.S. Olympian went 2:13.44 to win easily over Palo Alto Stanford’s Karlee Bispo. Bispo moved up from the fourth seed, charging home on the freestyle leg to take second in 2:16.03.
SwimMAC’s Katie Meili picked up her second third-place finish of the night, going 2:16.13 – Bispo ran by Meili at the finish, but the SwimMAC postgrad was able to hold off a surging Katie Ledecky, who split an event-best 29.9 on the freestyle. Ledecky finished 4th in 2:16.27 and will now gear up for her 800 freestyle battle with Lotte Friis.
Former Texas Longhorn Laura Sogar went 2:18.69 competing for her original Bluefish club. Courtney Monsees, Destiny Nelson and Megan Kingsley rounded out the top 8.
Tera Van Beilen took 9th place in her second swim of the night, winning the B final in 2:19.91 after taking 5th in the 100 breast a few events ago.