Leah Smith Becomes All-Time 2nd-Fastest 400 Free Textile Performer


Leah Smith of Virginia posted a 4:00.65 tonight in the 400 free to become the second-fastest textile performer in history.

She is now the fourth-fastest women’s 400 freestyle swimmer in history. The all-time top performers are below:

  1. Katie Ledecky, USA: 3:58.37 (2014)
  2. Federica Pellegrini, Italy: 3:59.15 (2009)
  3. Joanne Jackson, Great Britain: 4:00.60 (2009)
  4. Leah Smith, USA: 4:00.65

Smith is now the fastest ever non-Ledecky American 400 freestyler, and it’s important to note that both Pellegini and Jackson swam their landmark performances in the 2009 supersuit era.

The Americans now hold the top two swims in the world this year, a full three seconds ahead of the world.

2015-2016 LCM Women 400 Free

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Smith held onto Katie Ledecky‘s tail as the world record holder worked her way to 3:58.98, which just missed the world record. Smith maintained a position about a bodylength and a half behind Ledecky throughout the race.

Perhaps most amazingly, Smith split a faster second 200 than Ledecky, putting up splits of 1:58.16 and 2:02.49 compared to Ledecky’s 1:56.28 and 2:02.70.

Although her slot on the team is not official, Smith is very likely on her way to her first Olympic Games.

You can see the full results of the women’s 400 freestyle final here.

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5 years ago

why isnt leah automatically qualified? that’s crazy

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  aviatorfly
5 years ago

Yes, where do we get the “very likely” from?

Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
5 years ago

Rules are rules. She’s certainly a lock, but according to the rules, first place is the only automatic.

Looking forward to a possible 1-2 in Rio, two US girls under 4:00 seems to be a possibility. #mindblowing

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  coacherik
5 years ago

Then why are the announcers almost everyone else saying the top two are “on their way to Rio”?

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
5 years ago

Because while technically, Smith is not automatically qualified, mathematically she is.

5 years ago

#2 world ranking in her event she will be the first second place finisher named to the team. Oh and she will be top 4 in the 200 anyway.

Gary P
5 years ago

Swim of the night, for sure.

Olivia S
5 years ago

“I saw Katie’s feet!” Quote of the night!

5 years ago

while everyone else was watching ledecky, i was watching smith swim the 2nd 200 even faster than KL did. yes, check the statistics to back it up. my predictions is ledecies arrogance catches up with her at rio and ciera smith catches her in the race to take the gold medals and the worldrecord.

Reply to  shehulkswim
5 years ago

It’s gonna be tough for Ciera Smith to beat Katie in Rio since she won’t be there.

Reply to  MarkB
5 years ago

Interesting the NBAC distance girls are way down . I recall a poster saying in 2012 that they thought it was too mud altitude for a young girl (G Ryan in that case ).

Lane four
5 years ago

it drove me crazy that Rowdy kept saying she was now the 4th fastest performer in history.

5 years ago

This was my favorite race so far at the trials! I’ve been watching Leah Smith since the 2014 summer nationals in Irvine and told myself that she is going to make it to Rio and guess what……she sure as hell did! Love her and love Katie lets go #USA

Attila the Hunt
5 years ago

Times do NOT Matter.
Why is Smith peaking at the trials!
What’s important is the Olympics!
She should be peaking for the Olympics only!
This is useless!

Reply to  Attila the Hunt
5 years ago

Shut up

Attila the Hunt
Reply to  Ervin
5 years ago

You shut up

Reply to  Attila the Hunt
5 years ago

You have no idea whether she’s peaking at Trials. She could easily go even faster in Rio.

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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