Katie Ledecky Wins Again With A 1:56 200 Free Victory In Indiana

Katie Ledecky continued her domination at the visitbloomington.com Bucceto Open at Indiana University Saturday night with a very strong performance in the 200m freestyle final.

After taking the top seed this morning with a time of 1:58.43, Ledecky turned on the real guns in finals, working her way towards a 1:56.78. That time is the second fastest 200m freestyle she has put together all season, with her season-best being a 1:56.16 from the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin which currently ranks her 5th globally.

Ledecky’s performance tonight was extremely consistant. Taking a look at Ledecky’s splits, she stayed on target, and never faltered besides slowing town a bit on the third 50.

Ledecky’s splits:

50: 27.96 (27.96)

100: 57.33 (29.37)

150: 1:27.40 (30.07)

200: 1:56.78 (29.38)

Ledecky cleaned up her back-half a lot from her prelim swim. Saturday morning she came back in 1:00.93 splitting a 30.56 on the third 50 and 30.37 on the final 50.

Ledecky wasn’t done with just a 200 freestyle victory tonight; she swam the 400m IM at the end of the session, dropping five seconds from her prelim swim to win it in 4:41.70.

That time acts as a personal best for her, bettering the 4:42.82 she swam earlier this season. Ledecky’s freestyle split on the back-half was her most impressive leg of the race. There she split a 1:01.34, coming home in a 30.07 on the last 50.

To put that in perspective, Ledecky closed her 400 IM faster than the third 50 of her 200 freestyle, and faster than she closed her 200 freestyle in prelims.

The 200 freestyle  and 400m IM haven’t been her only stellar performances of the competition. On Friday night Ledecky swam to a 4:01.81 in the 400 freestyle and that was after winning the 100 free in a 55.4 at the start of the session.

Although Ledecky stole the show Saturday night, there were some other impressive performances that followed her 200 freestyle victory.

In the men’s 200 freestyle final, Indiana Hoosier Blake Pieroni took a tight race to the wall with Louisville’s Trevor Carroll, ultimately claiming gold in 1:51.51. Carroll was second in 1:51.97. Carroll was ahead at the 150 wall by a small margin, however Pieroni came back in a swift 28.03 to touch first.

The two faced off again in the 50m freestyle where Carroll got the better of Pieroni. Carroll was a 23.86 to claim bronze ahead of Pieroni’s 24.00. Ali Khalafalla won the race in 23.58 followed by Kyle DeCoursey in 23.83.

Short course yards 100 fly American record holder Kelsi Worrell also grabbed herself a win, taking home the 50m freestyle title in a time of 25.56. That time was just off her personal best of 25.27 that she set at the Arena Pro Swim Series Mesa earlier this season.

NCAP swimmer Andrew Gemmell won the last individual event of the night, the men’s 400m IM, in 4:27.48.


In This Story

Leave a Reply

6 Comment threads
21 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
14 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
bobo gigi

4.41 for KL in the 400 IM without backstroke and breaststroke, that’s pretty impressive.
The day she will be tired of freestyle and will decide to “have fun” (if that’s possible) with the 400 IM, it can become very interesting. Give her one full year of serious back and breast training at Stanford and I’m sure she can quickly swim at least 4.35. And then who knows where that progression can stop?
Imagine the fear of the best 400 IMers in the world if they don’t have at least 2 seconds of advantage over KL before the freestyle leg! Even Mireia Belmonte, Ye Shiwen or Katinka Hosszu would be afraid. 🙂


Whilst Ledecky over 400IM is a very interesting proposition; I feel you’re making some sizeable assumptions over times and prospective competitiveness, Bobo. Very few swimmers are given the “full bag of tricks” and it may well be that one of her strokes just isn’t up to it. You can bluff it to some degree in the 200IM but the exposure over a full 100m will generally sink you.

bobo gigi

You’re right. Perhaps she will never have a decent backstroke and a decent breaststroke. But it’s well too early to predict right now because I don’t think she trains more than 10 minutes per week in these 2 strokes. 🙂 Another distance freestyle legend was pretty good in the 400 IM too. I talk of course about Janet Evans. She won the olympic gold medal in 1988 in 4.37.76. I never watched this race in video. Can’t find it on youtube. According to that little race summary I’ve found, it looks like she had no particular weak stroke. Was almost first after butterfly. Then led by more than a second after backstroke. No indication about the breaststroke leg. They write… Read more »

Lane Four

Bobo, here are Janet’s running splits from Seoul for the 400 I.M. 1:04.55 2:12.79 3:34.26 4:37.76 At the end of the fly she was in fourth place, but after the backstroke she was in the lead the rest of the way. It is interesting to note that if she had come close to the final 100 split from her 400 free world record (a couple days later) for her free split in the I.M., she would have broken Petra Schneider’s world record. Her final 100 for the 400 free was 1:00.45 while her final 100 in the I.M. was a 1:03.50. But as Janet said, she didn’t care about the world record since she had just won her first Olympic… Read more »

bobo gigi

Thanks for these details Lane Four.

So by stroke it means:
1.04.55 on fly
1.08.24 on back
1.21.47 on breast
1.03.50 on free



I’m sure she trains more than 10 minutes per week in those strokes. Most of the (distance) freestylers use IM to give their best stroke a break. You can’t just swim freestyle all the time…their stroke would be so beat up.

bobo gigi

It was irony just to say that it’s obviously not her biggest priority of the moment to improve her back and breast in the year to come until Rio.
The day she will take that more seriously, if she wants it, who knows what can happen? Perhaps nothing. Perhaps something great.


Italian freestyle specialist Max Rosolino, who mostly raced 200 and 400 free, won his only individual gold at the Olympics in Sidney in the 200 IM, setting an Olympic record. Then Phelps and Lochte, among others, came along and I think he was never to be seen again in a final in the 200 IM at world or olympics level 🙂

This is just to corroborate the theory that a distance or mid-distance freestyle machine with an outstanding stroke and a couple of other good strokes can do very well in the 200 IM.


There is also the matter of whether or not he took performance enhancing products before the Sydney Olympics. There has been more than a rumor that he took HGH but that antidoping in Sydney didn’t test for HGH.


I didn’t know about that, or had forgotten. I had to Google this.

NM Coach

Not to stir the pot or anything…but consider this:

In 2012, MANY people were up in arms that there would be coaches, U.S. Coaches that would question whether Ye Shiwen was doping…

Her free split in the 400 IM – 58+ (Out split all males in the Olympic final except Lochte)
The GREATEST distance freestyler of all time, her split – 1:01.34.

Hmmmmm? Makes you wonder doesn’t it!?


It doesn’t really make me wonder because this is an apples to oranges comparison that could use better fact-checking. 1) It was not just Lochte. There were 5 men in that final who had a faster freestyle leg than Ye Shiwen. 2) Ye Shiwen was tapered and shaved for the Olympics, KL was at some scrub meet tooling around just to stay sharp before Worlds. Not comparable in any way. If we compared in season freestyle legs before making baseless accusations, we might actually have relevant data. 3) Strategy: Ye Shiwen stays super relaxed on the first three legs and then absolutely puts the hammer down on the freestyle, so of course her last 100 is going to be fast.… Read more »

bobo gigi

Agree with Sven.
I add to his full and clear explanation that of course the 3 first legs cost more energy to KL than to pure IM specialists, especially the breaststroke leg.

We’ll see if one day KL improves well her back and breast, how fast she could finish in that event fully tapered.
Tokyo 2020? 😎


Where would one go to look for “in season” splits for Chinese National Team results?

As Lane Four said above, if Janet Evans split in the 400 IM what she did her last 100 of the 400 Free (1:00.45)…would that STILL be 2 seconds slower than Ye Shiwen? And I’m almost positive that Bud McAllister had Janet tapered and shaved for that race.

1:56.78 – 4:01.81 – 8:16.40 for KL are not exactly “tooling” around swims.


As far as in-season Chinese splits, I have no idea. Guess you’ll have to wait until Katie Ledecky swims the 400 IM shaved and tapered. Either one would be better than comparing shaved/tapered to not. Re: Janet Evans: If we’re going to bring yet a third swimmer into this conversation (apples to oranges to peaches?), I’d have to say the difference is the racing strategy, but there’s not really much you can say there that isn’t pure speculation. Side-by-side comparisons don’t work so well with IMers, even when they have similar relative strengths. The question is, as a freestyler, does Ye Shiwen bring her 400 freestyle home in 58? Or is fatigue managed a bit better when you switch up… Read more »

Jim C

Disagree with Syen. Nobody, man or woman, can swim the first 300m of a 400IM in 3:30.76 super relaxed.


Don’t get so hung up on the exact phrase “super relaxed.” It’s the Olympics, I’m sure the effort was strong the whole way. Still, she kicks just enough to keep her feet on the surface during the fly and back, and she skips pullouts on the breast so she spends more time breathing during the race, not tapping into the anaerobic reserves quite as much as some of her competitors might have. She just did them so efficiently that she didn’t lose much ground. So while it may not have been “super relaxed,” the point is that that freestyle leg isn’t an anomaly, it’s the result of a very strategic and deliberate first 300m.


that was my exact reaction when I saw that split…


Check the detail, you are wrong about the final split –
Ye 58.68
Lochte 58.65
Hagino 58.20
Phelps 58.32

Hulk Swim

I’d also add to Sven’s analysis… It’s not like the men finishing the IM in 58s are finishing well… my guess is if you look at all of their 400 free’s they hold the last 3x 100s a bit faster than 58. So it’s a strategy thing. I’ve never been a fan of the ‘she beat Ryan Lochte’ arguement. Ryan Lochte swam that last 100m terribly. It’d not outside my belief that a woman CRUSHING the last 100m cant beat a man DYING the last 100m. And in my experience kids rarely finish the last 100m of the IM and Free the same. Just this weekend I had 2 kid finish the two races 3.5 and 4 seconds apart. For… Read more »

Jim C

Lochte did not stink over the last 100 or the last 50. His times were about average for the men’s finalists. As far as comparing the final 100s in 400 free and 400 IM, the time in the free should be faster since it is foot to hand while in the IM it is hand to hand. There is only one turn in the final 100 of the 400 free compared to 2 turns in the 400 IM.


This turned into a novel, I’m sorry. TL;DR: comparing any given leg of the IM to an equivalent distance race of the same stroke (i.e. free split on the 400IM to 400 free or fly split on the 200 IM to 200 fly) is not accurate because the changing of strokes delays the swimmer’s death a bit. You’re right that his time was around average for the men’s final, but it’s important to note that he utterly obliterated that field. Knowing that he’s one of the best 200m freestylers on the planet, and looking at how dominant his fly, back, and breast were, having a free split that’s just average is pretty stinky. Stroke looked bad, split wasn’t great, etc.… Read more »

Jim C

Ye Shiwen did not simply swim the final 100m of her 400IM at a faster pace than she or any other woman has ever swum a 400 free, she swam it a bit faster than she swam 200m in London with the advantage of a relay start.

About Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile

Mitch Bowmile is a former Canadian age group swimmer who was forced to end his career early due to a labrum tear in his hip and a torn rotator cuff after being recognized as one of the top 50 breaststrokers his age in Canada. He competed successfully at both age …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!