Katie Ledecky: “It wasn’t the best feeling 400”

2021 U.S. OLYMPIC SWIMMING TRIALS

Reported by James Sutherland.

WOMEN’S 400 FREE FINAL

  • World Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:56.46 (2016)
  • American Record: Katie Ledecky – 3:56.46 (2016)
  • US Open Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:57.94 (2018)
  • World Junior Record: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:58.37 (2014)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 3:56.46
  • 2016 US Olympic Trials Champion: Katie Ledecky – 3:58.98
  • Wave I Cut: 4:16.89
  • Wave II Cut: 4:13.28
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 4:07.90
  1. Katie Ledecky (NCAP), 4:01.27
  2. Paige Madden (UVA), 4:04.86
  3. Leah Smith (CLCK), 4:06.27

She certainly wasn’t thrilled with the time, but Katie Ledecky successfully qualifies for her third U.S. Olympic team as she wins the women’s 400 freestyle by well over three seconds in 4:01.27.

Ledecky, who was two seconds faster than that at the Mission Viejo Pro Swim in April, said she was surprised by the time and thought she had gone significantly faster. Nonetheless, she qualifies for Tokyo, but will have her work cut out for her after Australian Ariarne Titmus blasted a 3:56.90 at the Australian Trials on the weekend.

The runner-up spot goes to Paige Madden, a three-time individual NCAA champion this past season at the University of Virginia, who took a full second off her personal best of 4:05.92 in 4:04.86 to likely etch her name onto her first Olympic team.

Leah Smith, second to Ledecky in 2016, was third in 4:06.27, and open water ace Haley Anderson rounds out the top four in 4:07.42.

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Swimt
1 month ago

It will be interesting to see how Timus handles the race as a favorite. I’d think she’d like to be seen as an underdog.

BSD
1 month ago

The SwimSwam community needs to come to terms with Ledecky’s decline. She has not been the same since Rio. The coaching change hurt her and her technique has changed drastically. She’s not unrested, this is just her speed now. Every year, she lulls everyone to sleep with a random good meet at a pro swim, then she underperforms when it counts. I said back in 2018 Titmus would beat her in Tokyo and I got like 100 downvotes, now I’m about to be proven right in a few weeks. Between Titmus and Quadarella, at this point Ledecky will be lucky to win a single gold. She’s still a great swimmer and has had a great career, but that old Ledecky… Read more »

Joel Lin
Reply to  BSD
1 month ago

We’ll see. There’s no rational anchor to the assertions you’re making. In 2019 she was ill at the peak meet. In 2020 there wasn’t a peak meet. This isn’t Ledecky’s peak meet. She’s likely the only legitimately “not rested” swimmer at this meet. Her peak meet is in 4 weeks, so that would make these performances more bubble in the cycle swims. If you’re right we’ll know next month. If you’re wrong, we’ll know next month. We don’t know now.

Sheeeeeeeeeesh
Reply to  Joel Lin
1 month ago

She literally said this was her first tapered meet in 2 years 😂😂😂

Jack
Reply to  Sheeeeeeeeeesh
1 month ago

I know that was the headline, but in the press conference a reporter asked “What’s it like tapering for this meet?” And she responded, “Well, it’s been a couple years since I’ve rested…” and then kind of waffled evasively for a while. I don’t think she claimed to be tapered and sounded like she was being careful to say she had a little rest for the first time in a while.

Not saying she’s not starting her Olympic taper, but I’d be surprised if she was on the kind of full taper people seem to be thinking she’s on.

Jack
Reply to  BSD
1 month ago

Man this brings me back to hearing people in 2011 talk about Phelps.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Jack
1 month ago

Eventually people that dismiss athletes based on age or whatever will be right because that’s just the natural progression of a professional athlete. Very rarely does an athlete go out on top (i.e Jordan, Bolt), especially a swimmer. However, I don’t think as of this year Ledecky is finished.

Phelps may be the exception to the rule (though he lost the 100 fly in 2016).

Troyy
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

Bolt didn’t go out on top. He lost to Coleman and Gaitlin in the 100m at 2017 Worlds.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Yeah, that was my point. Same with Jordan. When Jordan was with the Wizards in his later career, he didn’t even make the playoffs.

However, Phelps did, more or less, go out on top in 2016 with five gold medals and a silver.

Rafael
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

so he lost to a guy who has been on doping scandals since his 20 years old but nobody does a thing about him.. and to a guy who does everything he can to avoid being tested..

Swimpop
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

Sampras went out in style winning the US Open.

Jack
Reply to  Philip Johnson
1 month ago

She was 7 when Lochte made his first Olympic team. She’s not declining due to age at 24.

If she’s looking off at the 2028 Trials, comment this again and it’ll be a good point.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  BSD
1 month ago

She has not been the same since Rio.”

She broke a WR post Rio and won 6 World Championship gold medals (9 total) after Rio.

Chris
Reply to  BSD
1 month ago

Hold your horses there. Also, have a little respect.

As Joel said, she probably isn’t fully rested. She’s done VERY well since Rio.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Chris
1 month ago

If her post Rio career is a “decline”, then I would like to see his definition of a successful career.

RJP
Reply to  BSD
1 month ago

Lucky to win a single gold, isnt this a bit disrespectectful even before her swim in 800 or 1500. I get that she isnt the favorite in 200 or 400 but 800 and even 1500. Who will beat her in 1500 even if she just drop 15.30-15.35 ?

Last edited 1 month ago by RJP
Jamie5678
Reply to  BSD
1 month ago

This is a bit harsh. She hasn’t been the same since Rio, but was astonishingly good in Rio and she’s still been very, very good since.

It is however exceptionally difficult to continue to improve consistently over 3 Olympic cycles. Hell – I think only 2 women have been able to win three on the trot. And they had both declined by their third win. Every cycle people expect swimmers to come out and just be better than they were 4 years ago. History is full of legendary swimmers who have tried to hang on for another cycle and come up short. That’s probably as it should be.

Ledecky is still swimming very fast and she has a shot in… Read more »

Philip Johnson
Reply to  Jamie5678
1 month ago

Ledecky is past her prime for sure, her peak was probably 2013-2016.

Her legacy, in my opinion, is set. Whatever happens in Tokyo.

Richard Henderson
Reply to  BSD
1 month ago

In 2018, she swam what was arguably the best distance swim of all time, 15:20,,, out in 8:11, back in 8:10. She has had good 200’s this season. Stay tuned,,,, it will take a great effort to beat wonder woman. I’m betting on Katie.

coach
1 month ago

If Katie even went the 3:59.2 that she went in April, I don’t think there would be much speculation. She has not hit a taper since she moved to Stanford (short or long course). That has nothing to do with age. That has nothing to do with being washed up.

Dudeman
1 month ago

I still think she’ll win the 800 and the 1500 based off just how far ahead she is of everyone else in the world. The 200 Titmus will most likely win unless something drastic happens, the 400 will be very interesting. I thought if ledecky was 3:58-3:59 (like she did in 2016) she’d have a very good shot of winning, now I’m not so sure

Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

YOZHIK, where are you?

I miss your thorough analysis of Katie Ledecky swims.

I also miss your scathing diss at Ariarne Titmus.

Troyy
Reply to  Texas Tap Water
1 month ago

I thought over time he had become quite complimentary of Ariarne.

ERVINFORTHEWIN
1 month ago

I Love the TYR new Us Flag design suit ….suits her so well .

About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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