Katie Ledecky: “Not to be nitpicky, but…” (Video)

Reported by Lauren Neidigh.


  1. Katie Ledecky (Stanford)- 4:24.06
  2. Leah Smith (Virginia)- 4:28.90
  3. Kennedy Goss (Indiana)- 4:26.13

Katie Ledecky took it up a notch, to say the least, in tonight’s final, wrecking the American and NCAA Records with a blistering 4:24.06. She took it out in a 1:43.46 at the 200 and never looked back, breaking ahead of Virginia’s Leah Smith (4:28.90).

While she was a distant 2nd place, Smith’s swim is very historically significant as she becomes the 2nd swimmer in history to break 4:30 in the women’s 500 free.

A tight battle for 3rd saw Indiana’s Kennedy Goss come home like a train, splitting a 26.26 on the final 50 to out-touch Louisville’s Mallory Comerford (4:36.16). NC State’s Hannah Moore rounded out the top 5 in a personal best 4:36.85.

Stanford freshman Megan Byrnes had a big swim in the B final, clocking a lifetime best 4:37.78 yo outpace Kentucky’s Geena Freriks (4:38.42).

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Not A Very Fast Swimmer
5 years ago

I wouldn’t be able to do a 400 that fast! My 500 time (I wasn’t my fastest, though) was 9:59. We were timed in practice, but our coach didn’t tell us, so I didn’t go my fastest. I wish I was faster, 🙁

5 years ago

Flubs her strategy, goes out too fast, not really at the SPL/SR combo she wants, but still sets a pool, meet, NCCA, American, and US Open record, finishing almost 5 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor and pretty much the entire length of the pool ahead of the rest of the field. #LikeABoss

Reply to  GARYP
5 years ago

Yeah, I hope history holds up how impressive that swim was. I mean, Leah Smith’s swim in any other year would blow up Twitter. If you look at the race you might say “oh that girl was only 4 seconds behind her,” but you have to pan out and look at *everybody else* to really feel just how incredible of a swim that was.

5 years ago

I’m struck by how much Ledecky loves the TEAM environment. She talks a lot about her teammates’ swims and how much they matter to her. She talked about going out too fast b/c she was so amped by the meet. She’s calmly navigated Olympic Finals numerous times . . . And she admits to overswimming the opening 200 here b/c she was so excited for the meet.
I’d always read about how much she loved swimming for her HS team, and her school team was not particularly special. For her to now combine that love of team with the best team in the country and a great distance training group is a perfect fit for her (4:37 for freshman… Read more »

Reply to  SwimGeek
5 years ago

I completely agree. Katie’s reactions to others’ swims seems genuine. For example, she was happy after breaking a WR to win the Pan Pacs 400 gold a few years ago, but her smile/enthusiasm got MUCH bigger once she saw that Cierra Runge had won the silver, her first individual medal. Ditto at Olympic Trials for Smith’s PB in the 400.

As far as turning pro, I feel like our discussion of whether she should go pro occurs in a vacuum. By this I mean that we are imagining her results would be the same if she turned pro, just her monetary rewards would increase. Everyone talks about how Katie’s psychology is one of her secret weapons, but from what… Read more »

tea rex
5 years ago

People should cool off on the time predictions. Katie Ledecky keeps going faster than we think is possible, but watching her swim even close to her best time is pretty special to watch.

Reply to  tea rex
5 years ago

Yeah, the time predictions kind of bother me sometimes, at least the outrageous ones. We have a swimmer doing extraordinary things, and then someone will want another 3 or 4 seconds off. It’s the same feeling I had during the run up to the Olympics when some threw out completely unrealistic medal counts for Katie. It’s as if we can no longer see the extraordinary but cheapen it by wanting more, more, more. I’m glad Katie is so levelheaded, because I don’t see how she isn’t crushed by the ongoing raising of expectations for her. I’m completely blown away by how she handles this even more than I am by her swimming.

Reply to  northernsue
5 years ago

I agree. A couple years ago this record was over 6 seconds slower; not 1 woman under 4:30. Now there are 2, which quite frankly should be stunning to anyone in the swimming community. I certainly don’t know what Ledecky has in store for us all over the next few years, or even how many more NCAA meets we will see her in (I’m certain the pressure to go professional will become huge as we move towards 2020).

Iceage Swimmer
5 years ago

She’s always had a great catch and early vertical forearm, but did anybody else notice that her stroke looks smoother and more well balanced?

5 years ago

This race looked a little like her 400m prelims (or was it finals?) at Olympic Trials last year.

Reply to  xyz
5 years ago

The one where she opened to 1:56.2? That’s was the finals

5 years ago

Not to be nitpick, but I think should have gone under 4:24 if she had someone at her waist chasing her during the last hundred. We love you anyway! Excited to see what you would do when you get in the water. You can break 4:23 next year. Don’t ever turn pro until you finish your college career. We are so fortunate to witness your greatness during NCAA season.

Reply to  ADSF
5 years ago

I bet she’ll break 4:20 before she graduates if she stays at Stanford.

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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