2019 PRO SWIM SERIES – RICHMOND
- April 10-13, 2019
- Collegiate School Aquatics Center, Richmond, VA
- Meet information
- Psych Sheets
- Live results
- TV/Live Stream Schedule
- Live Stream – USA Swimming (Prelims & Finals)
- Live Stream – NBC Sports (Finals)
Katie Ledecky may have won her umpteenth 800 free Pro Swim Series title, but the standout swim tonight in Richmond’s distance finals came from Leah Smith of Tuscon Ford Dealers Aquatics.
Smith, who has emerged these last couple of seasons as the #2 distance swimmer in the U.S., took 2nd behind Ledecky tonight with an 8:16.33, just over two seconds behind the world record holder’s 8:14.24. That moves her to the #8 performer of all time in this event, just 11 hundredths behind the great Janet Evans, who was the American record holder before Ledecky’s rise. Smith had previously sat in a tie for 13th.
ALL-TIME TOP PERFORMERS, WOMEN’S 800 FREE
- Katie Ledecky, 8:04.49 – 2017
- Rebecca Adlington, 8:14.10 – 2008
- Wang Jianjiahe, 8:14.64 – 2019
- Li Bingjie, 8:15.46 – 2017
- Jazmin Carlin, 8:15.54 – 2014
- Lotte Friis, 8:15.92 – 2009
- Janet Evans, 8:16.22 – 1989
- Leah Smith, 8:16.33 – 2019
- Simona Quadarella, 8:16.35 – 2018
- Boglarka Kapas, 8:16.37 – 2016
It’s nearly impossible to make Ledecky look ‘catch-able’ in a distance race, and while this is just a training meet for pros like Ledecky and Smith, it was a visual testament to Smith’s swim to see her gunning for Ledecky’s heels with the rest of the heat well back.
Smith took almost a full second off of her old best, an 8:17.21 that she did at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships. This is actually just her third instance under 8:20, ever, and it’s a significant amount better than she was at the 2016 Olympic Trials (8:20.18) and at the 2016 Olympics (8:20.95).
In terms of the world rankings, only Ledecky and young Chinese star Wang Jianjiahe sit ahead of her.