Leah Smith Becomes 8th All-Time Performer in 800 Free on Night 1 of Richmond PSS

2019 PRO SWIM SERIES – RICHMOND

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

  1. Katie Ledecky, 8:04.49 – 2017
  2. Rebecca Adlington, 8:14.10 – 2008
  3. Wang Jianjiahe, 8:14.64 – 2019
  4. Li Bingjie, 8:15.46 – 2017
  5. Jazmin Carlin, 8:15.54 – 2014
  6. Lotte Friis, 8:15.92 – 2009
  7. Janet Evans, 8:16.22 – 1989
  8. Leah Smith, 8:16.33 – 2019
  9. Simona Quadarella, 8:16.35 – 2018
  10. 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.

2018-2019 LCM WOMEN 800 FREE

KatieUSA
LEDECKY
05/19
8.10.70
2Jianjiahe
WANG
CHN8.14.6403/30
3Leah
SMITH
USA8.16.3304/10
4Ariarne
TITMUS
AUS8.18.2306/09
5Kiah
MELVERTON
AUS8.22.8306/09
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Yozhik

That is the beauty of the sport. After getting a little bit disappointed by Katie Ledecky not breaking 8 min barrier there immediately comes the consolation by outstanding result of Leah Smitth. Just 16 one hundreds shy of Olympic silver medal and only 0.11sec behind Janet Evans.
Congratulations Leah. It was long due in LCM after finishing impressive swimming career in SCY.
It looked like she was more surprised than any of her numerous fans. Keep going Leah – surprise us as much as you can. We know you can do it 😀

Swimmer A

If Ledecky and Smith swam in the men’s race they would of ended up 6th and 8th respectively. They would be at home in the final men’s heat.

Tea rex

Just had the pleasure of watching that race in person. Ledecky crushed as usual, and made it look easy, but Leah was chasing her, with a huge fire in her stroke/turnover the last 200m. If it just came down to who wanted it more, Leah would have won. Ledecky is just inhuman.

About Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon

Karl Ortegon studied sociology at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT, graduating in May of 2018. He began swimming on a club team in first grade and swam four years for Wesleyan.

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