Katie Ledecky on 200 Free US Open Record: “I like to be 1:54 in-season”


Reported by Karl Ortegon.


  • Pro Swim Record: 1:54.43 Katie Ledecky (2016)
  • Trials Wave II: 2:00.24
  • Trials Wave I: 2:01.69
  1. Katie Ledecky – 1:54.40
  2. Allison Schmitt – 1:58.04
  3. Katie McLaughlin/Madisyn Cox – 1:58.14

Katie Ledecky was out in 56.01, pulling away from the field and coming down the final stretch with a huge lead. She blazed to a 1:54.40, taking down her own 2016 PSS record of 1:54.43 from five years ago. That’s a phenomenal swim for her, and she moves to the top time in the world this year ahead of China’s Yang Junxuan (1:54.70).

That’s Ledecky’s best time ever on U.S. soil (it also ties the U.S. Open record done by Allison Schmitt at 2012 Olympic Trials), and it’s her second-best performance ever. She’s only been faster at the Rio Olympics, when she went her lifetime best 1:53.73.

2020-2021 LCM WOMEN 200 FREE


CHN 1:54.70 03/06
AUS 1:55.56 03/21
HKG 1:55.81 03/21
AUS 1:55.93 12/13


Allison Schmitt of Sun Devil Swimming was 1:58.04, winning a tight battle over Cal Aquatics’ Katie McLaughlin and Longhorn Aquatics’ Madisyn Cox, who tied for third at 1:58.14.

17-year-old Justina Kozan of Mission Viejo Nadadores broke 1:59 for the first time ever, going 1:58.50 to win the B-final ahead of Leah Smith (1:58.76). Kozan’s old best of 1:59.21 was from 2019.

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3 months ago

Most would like that in their lifetime

Mr Piano
3 months ago

Me too tbh

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Mr Piano
3 months ago

Drop the in season bit, I like to be 1:54

3 months ago

I would have too. And I’m a guy.

what a PEATY
3 months ago

Michael Andrew left the chat.

3 months ago

With all this excitement of long due Katie’s excellent performance in 200 LCM event I’m getting very surprised with the performances of other swimmers. In the absence of clear leaders besides Ledecky the 4×200 relay looks like the easiest way to become the member of USA Olympic team. I expected the fiercest completion for the 5(!) spots on this relay among many swimmers who don’t even consider 200 FR as their major event. Forget about your “strong” strokes and distances where you either don’t have a chance to get on the team or medal in Tokyo. That is the opportunity that is knocking in the door.
Look at the team who broke the 10 years old suit Chinese record… Read more »

Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

I would argue that KL isn’t a 2Fr specialist either

Reply to  JimSwim22
3 months ago

I don’t know actually what the definition of being a specialist at particular swimming discipline would be. But if she has more performances among 25 best ones than anybody else in the history of this event and is the second ever fastest than I assume she knows how to race it. The fact that 200 isn’t the only event in her professional list of interest doesn’t mean that she isn’t specialist at 200FR

Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

I also won’t be surprised if you count how many times she raced each particular distance in her career and then find out that 200 is the first in this list.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

What about Pellegrini – surely after so long being the “Queen” of the 200 (at least in some circles) she would have a bunch of performances in the top 25. Anyone?

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
3 months ago

She has 5 against Katie’s 6.
And you will be surprised that she has only 7 under 1:55 results against Ledecky’s 12.
But she does have 2 of them under 1:54 and Katie has only 1.
But in textile suite. And you know that it makes a huge difference.
So the “queen” definition is a very vague stuff 🙂

Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

And Australia beat them at that world champs

Reply to  Samesame
3 months ago

Yes, I mentioned that. By 0.37 sec having all four 200 specialists with two of them splitting 1:54.
But you missed my point.

Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

Mckeon was also sick during the WC, she didn’t even swim the 200 free individual. She conservative her energy racing last with McLauhlin & only made a move in last 50 metres. Not her style normally, she normally attacks the 200 free.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

None of the Australian girls were 200 specialists as were all gold medallists in other events. How can you say their 200 was their top event even ?

Reply to  Corn Pop
3 months ago

Ok. Nobody is 200 specialist. 🙂 It is a very weird event. It is not a long sprint. It is not a middle distance race when a swimmer has a time to think at mid distance what to do next based on his/her current condition.
Nobody likes it. And for the best ever female swimmers Ledecky and Sjostrom who cover with world records all freestyle events it lays on outskirts of their usual range.
The only swimmers who I know that succeed in this event better than in others are Schmitt and Pellegrini. And I want be surprised that they don’t like this even neither. Just competition at 100 sprint is much tougher.

Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

Nice to meet you, again.

Reply to  Brownish
3 months ago

Likewise. Especially in such a troublesome time that your country is going through.

Troll Longhorn
3 months ago

Mid-season taper, maybe not a full one, but there’s some rest involved with that time.

Reply to  Troll Longhorn
3 months ago

BTW, 1:54.43 in January 2016 was shown in the meet where she was fully tapered.
There was some unfinished business left after Kazan WC.
At this meet in Austin she went 53.75 at 100, world record at 800 and the most important, in the race against Sjostrom in 200 she showed that she is indeed the world champion at this distance and no performance at the first leg of relay should be counted.
So that was a special meet with the special preparation. I don’t think that she was that much focused on the current meet as it was 5 years ago. That makes today’s performance even more promising.

Wild Bill
Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

Very good points –

3 months ago

Actually thinking who can make the 4×200 team for the US women this summer aside from Ledecky.

McLaughlin has proven clutch on relays ever since they put her on in 2015 (I still can’t believe that’s 6 years ago but anyways) and shes def capable of low 1:55 splits,

Manuel has a 1:56.0 flat start, Leah Smith has a 1:55.9 flat start,

Not sure what Margalis’ best split nor flat start is but she’s always about, Schmitt with her 1:55.7 flat start from 2018 she’s capable for sure too if she can pull it together unlike Pan Pacs.

And these are just “the regulars”. Regan being a solid 200 fly swimmer and best ever 200 back swimmer,… Read more »

Distance Per Stroke
2 days ago


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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