Katie Ledecky Posts Third-Fastest Women’s 800 Free In History (8:07.07)

2023 U.S. NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

With her swim on Tuesday night, Katie Ledecky continues to prove that she’s invincible in distance freestyle.

In the fastest heat of the women’s 800 free at the 2023 Phillips 66 National Championships, Ledecky swam a time of 8:07.07, which is the third-fastest time in the history of the event and also her fastest time since 2016. The only two times clocked that were faster than Ledecky’s nationals swim were her 8:06.68 from the 2016 Arena Pro Series and her 8:04.79 which currently stands as the World Record.

Ledecky now holds the top 30 performances of all-time in the women’s 800 free.

All-Time Top Performances, Women’s 800 Meter Freestyle:

  1. Katie Ledecky — 8:04.79 (2016)
  2. Katie Ledecky — 8:06.68 (2016)
  3. Katie Ledecky — 8:07.07 (2023)
  4. Katie Ledecky — 8:07.27 (2018)
  5. Katie Ledecky — 8:07.39 (2015)
  6. Katie Ledecky — 8:08.04 (2022)
  7. Katie Ledecky — 8:09.13 (2018)
  8. Katie Ledecky — 8:09.27 (2022)
  9. Katie Ledecky — 8:10.32 (2016)
  10. Katie Ledecky — 8:10.70 (2019)
  11. Katie Ledecky — 8:10.91 (2016)
  12. Katie Ledecky — 8:11.00 (2014)
  13. Katie Ledecky — 8:11.08 (2018)
  14. Katie Ledecky — 8:11.21 (2015)
  15. Katie Ledecky — 8:11.35 (2014)
  16. Katie Ledecky — 8:11.50 (2017)
  17. Katie Ledecky — 8:11.70 (2018)
  18. Katie Ledecky — 8:11.83 (2022)
  19. Katie Ledecky — 8:11.98 (2018)
  20. Katie Ledecky — 8:12.03 (2022)
  21. Katie Ledecky — 8:12.57 (2020)
  22. Katie Ledecky — 8:12.68 (2017)
  23. Katie Ledecky — 8:12.81 (2022)
  24. Katie Ledecky — 8:12.86 (2016)
  25. Katie Ledecky — 8:13.02 (2015)
  26. Katie Ledecky — 8:13.06 (2022)
  27. Katie Ledecky — 8:12.20 (2016)
  28. Katie Ledecky — 8:13.25 (2015)
  29. Katie Ledecky — 8:13.56 (2023)
  30. Katie Ledecky — 8:13.58 (2019)
  31. Ariarne Titmus — 8:13.59 (2022)

This sentiment has been repeated many times before, but Ledecky’s career has seen a massive resurgence since she left Stanford in the fall of 2021 to train with Anthony Nesty at the University of Florida. In a five-year span starting from after she set the 800 free World Record in 2016 to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, she only broke the 8:10 barrier twice in the event. However, after moving to Florida, she has broken 8:10 a total of three times in two years.

In her race, Ledecky’s splits were very consistent, as she held 30-points until she reached the 650-meter mark. She then closed out her race in a blistering 29.34 final 50. Up until the 450-meter mark, she was ahead of her world record pace.

Ledecky’s Splits:

50m 27.62
100m 30.08 (57.70)
150m 30.24 (1:27.94)
200m 30.80 (1:58.74)
250m 30.50 (2:29.24)
300m 30.76 (3:00.00)
350m 30.77 (3:30.77)
400m 30.96 (4:01.73)
450m 30.66 (4:32.39)
500m 30.57 (5:02.96)
550m 30.84 (5:33.80)
600m 30.91 (6:04.71)
650m 30.79 (6:35.50)
700m 31.21 (7:06.71)
750m 31.02 (7:37.73)
800m 29.34 (8:07.07)
Total 8:07.07

Ledecky won her race by over 13 seconds, earning herself a spot on the 2023 U.S. World Championships team. This qualification is her sixth-straight World Championships berth, as she previously made the Worlds teams in 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2022. The only other swimmers that have qualified for six different World Championship teams are Nathan Adrian, Elizabeth Beisel, Natalie Coughlin, Ryan Lochte, and Michael Phelps.

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the final countdown
7 months ago

I wonder what could’ve been if she wasn’t at Stanford. I hope Curzan and Huske leave as well. Look what’s happening to Regan Smith nwo that she’s left.

PFA
7 months ago

Ledecky really is a once in a century swimmer where she can be so consistent and grounded for many years over a decade. With how she’s been looking the past year, she could very well break her WR again and if she does even if it’s by tenths, it would be one of her greatest accomplishments. Because everyone thought before that she would never come close again. Everyone talks about the men’s 800 free WR being hard to beat but no one else has broken 8:10 let alone 8:13 and they would still be 9-6+ seconds from the record incredible.

Troyy
Reply to  PFA
7 months ago

To be fair it was inaquate training at Stanford that caused people to think she was past her peak.

GrameziPT
7 months ago

She is going to win 5 in row in the 800 at the Olympics and surpass the 4 titles of Michael Phelps in the 200 IM.

You heard it here first

Awsi Dooger
7 months ago

She’s doing it the correct way, taking it out faster. For several years Ledecky gave far too much respect to the opening 400 of this race. She’s never vulnerable to the piano so it makes sense for her to hang at or below world record pace for the first 500.

Weinstein-Smith-Ledecky-Sims
7 months ago

For her next objective, it’s time for Katie Ledecky to focus on the Top 25 All-Time Performance list in the W 1500 FR.

Viking Steve
7 months ago

I’m not sure we will ever see this level of consistent greatness in swimming again.

Baring injury, she will likely win through the 2028 Olympic cycle in the 800/1500

That would be 16 years in a row from ages 14-30…(to say nothing about the outside chance of more beyond 2028)

Good luck for anyone else to begin their dominance at age 14, much less last until 26-30

Last edited 7 months ago by Viking Steve
Fraser Thorpe
Reply to  Viking Steve
7 months ago

Krisztina Egerszegi May have had a similar run – she was roughly the same age as Ledecky in the Olympic quad and had a huge win in her third win in ‘96. But shows it takes a generational talent, timing and luck. But Ledecky seems untouchable in her consistency and longevity for sure.

Jay
7 months ago

You missed one it should be top 30

Steve Hulford
7 months ago

I wonder if this is a record in any sport? The domination of an event by this much?

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Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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