Katie Ledecky Takes Down Own World Record in 800 Free

by Robert Gibbs 7

January 17th, 2016 National, News, Pro Swim Series

Sure, it would’ve been fun to see Katie Ledecky swim the 200 IM tonight after she qualified for the A-final by finishing seventh in the preliminaries.  Watching her set yet another world record was even more fun.

Ledecky capped off the final night of the 2016 Austin Pro Series meet with her most impressive swim of an impressive meet for her, as she broke her own world record in the 800 freestyle in 8:06.68, lowering the record time of 8:07.39 she set last summer at Kazan.

Here are the comparative splits between those two races:

1/17/2016 8/8/2015
100 58.82 58.97
200 61.38 61.25
300 61.6 61.16
400 61.42 61.88
1st 400 Split 4:03.22 4:03.22
500 61.4 61.73
600 61.38 61.84
700 61.37 61.49
800 59.31 59.11
2nd 400 Split 4:03.46 4:04.17
Total 8:06.68 8:07.39

While she jumped out tonight a hair faster than last summer, her next two 100s were a bit slower, before she picked up the pace on the fourth 100, amazingly ending up with the exact same 400 split in both races.  From there, she continued to pound, splitting the fifth, sixth, and seventh 100s quicker than she did in Kazan, before just tailing off the pace slightly, but still easily beating her own best time.

Of course, tonight’s world record swim was also the U.S. Open record (previously her world record swim in Texas in 2014), and the 17-18 National Age Group record.

When asked after the race when she knew that she had a shot at the record, she made it clear it had been in her head going into the race, she replied, “I knew from the start that if I put it together the right way, I could have a pretty good swim.”

One one hand, describing a world record swim as “pretty good” is like describing the Mona Lisa as a “doodle.”  On the other hand, we’re running out of superlatives to describe Ledecky’s swims, so “pretty good” works as well as anything else.

That’s the fourth time she’s broken the record.  Here’s that progression:

8:13.86 Barcelona 8/3/2013
8:11.00 Shenandoah 6/19/2014
8:07.39 Kazan 8/8/2015
8:06.68 Austin 1/17/2016


All together, Ledecky has lowered the world record by over seven seconds in just 29 months.  Before Ledecky began her record-breaking streak, British star Rebecca Adlington held the record with a time of 8:14.10.   It took 21 years for the record to make its previous seven second drop, from Janet Evans at 8:22.44 in 1987, to Anke Mohring at 8:19.53 the same year, back to Evans the next year in 8:17 and the year after in 8:16, and finally down to Adlington’s time in 2008.

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7 years ago

Her 3 WR at Texas, she’s really likes this place!
Watch this fan video at 0:32 what Missy said about her!

7 years ago

Her fastest eight 50s would have been a world record 400 in 2008, and her slowest eight 50s would have just been out touched by Janet Evans 1987 world record….Katie Ledecky is unreal

7 years ago

Congratulations Katie! So inspiring!

samuel huntington
7 years ago

so what is possible at Rio? this is what I think, pretty sure her main goal is the 200 free WR
split 52.8

Reply to  samuel huntington
7 years ago

If she goes 3:56 in the 400, she’s definitely just at or under 8:00 in the 800. She almost always even or negative splits.

NM Coach
7 years ago

What a stud! Fantastic decision on her part to stay and train with Bruce!

7 years ago

That was incredible. Fantastic swim. <8:03 in Rio?

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