Katie Ledecky: “I’ve learned this lesson thousands of times before” (Video)


Reported by Lauren Neidigh.


  1. GOLD: Katie Ledecky– 3:59.09
  2. SILVER: Leah Smith– 4:02.21
  3. BRONZE: Haley Anderson– 4:07.21
  4. FOURTH: Kaersten Meitz– 4:07.60

Katie Ledecky was under her own World Record pace until the final 50 meters, but fell off, still dominating in the 10th fastest performance ever in 3:59.09. With some more rest, her records look like they may be in trouble. Ledecky did set the U.S. Open Record earlier this year in 3:57.94.

As expected, fellow Olympic medalist Leah Smith was far ahead of the rest of the field in a 4:02.21 for 2nd. That’s her fastest time of the season by 2 seconds. Teammate Kirsten Jacobsen, who made a massive drop to qualify for this final, was a couple of seconds shy of her prelims time for 8th in 4:11.14.

Open water world champ Haley Anderson (4:07.21) and All-American Kaersten Meitz (4:07.60) battled closely for 3rd, with Anderson pulling ahead on the back half. Both broke 4:08 for the first time. Hali Flickinger, the 200 fly champ, was a couple of seconds off her best from a few weeks ago, when she swam a 4:06.72, taking 7th in 4:10.42. She can still swim the 400 free at Pan Pacs if she chooses, since she’s safely on the team. Flickinger is less than a second off the all-time American top 10 list with her best.

14-year-old phenom Claire Tuggle was out with the slight lead in the B final, but Olympic medalist Allison Schmitt popped off the 3rd wall to pull ahead. Schmitt held on for the win in 4:08.46, touching just ahead of a hard-charging Katie Drabot (4:08.96). Tuggle was just off her prelims time for 3rd in that heat with a 4:10.62.

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4 years ago

I first began to respect this swimmer when five years ago in response on the stupid question ” how did you manage to break 4 min barrier?” the 16 years old then Katie gave a brief but the only appropriate answer: ” A LOT OF TRAINING”.

“I’ve learned this lesson thousand of times before” – I don’t buy it.
800 race – first time under 3 min first 300
400 race – under world record first 250
100 &200 races – fast starts and not that impressive finish.
So it will the one thousand and four lessons now, won’t it?
I’m inclined to think that it was either a practice or the physiological way to… Read more »

Reply to  Yozhik
4 years ago

or maybe…get this…she just wanted to have some fun

Reply to  pvdh
4 years ago


Reply to  pvdh
4 years ago

Sure, who wouldn’t get bored competing with herself only for six years. Let’s have some fun and do exactly the opposite to what she has learned already thousand of times.
I think she was checking where she is standing with such type of strategy.
Not being tapered she managed to swim 3.59 and 8:11 with such fast starts. It makes me to believe that she will do the same in two weeks. If the tapering done properly we will see something of best of Katie Ledecky.
I just got a little bit tired of such Katie’s diplomacy.

4 years ago

Katie, Katie… If you decided to not swim 1500 race couple months in advance then what was the reason to enter it at first place?

Go Bearcats
Reply to  Yozhik
4 years ago

Maybe god forbid if she missed qualification in her other events?

4 years ago

Under WR pace until the final 150m perhaps..:
At 300m her split here was 2.58.16 whilst at Rio was 2.57.62, so already half a second over.

Reply to  nuotofan
4 years ago

Correct. She was between .10 and .15 below record pace every flip until 250, the progressively further removed. There was no chance at 100 meters out, let alone 50

4 years ago

It’s really great to see the young journalist at the end here, and the way KL engages with her.

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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