Leah Smith Hits 10-Second 400 IM SCY Best Time, 4:03.83, In Austin


  • November 5-8, 2021
  • Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, Austin, TX
  • SCY (25y)
  • Results
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2021 ST TXLA 11& Over November Unclassified”

Two-time Olympic medalist Leah Smith was in action over the weekend at a Longhorn Aquatics-hosted meet in Austin, hitting a massive lifetime best in the 400 individual medley (SCY) while also putting together a strong showing in the 500 freestyle.

Smith, who moved to Austin in August to train under University of Texas women’s coaches Carol Capitani and Mitch Dalton, put up a time of 4:03.83 in the 400 IM, more than 10 seconds under her previous best time of 4:13.93. That time was set in a January 2017 dual meet against NC State when Smith was competing in the NCAA with the University of Virginia.

As a point of reference, Smith’s time would’ve placed fourth in the ‘A’ final at the 2021 Women’s NCAA Championships.

Smith has always primarily been a freestyler, including winning a 2016 Olympic gold medal in the women’s 4×200 free relay with the United States, and also claiming bronze individually in the 800 free.

However, she’s also shown flashes of brilliance in the long course 400 IM over the years, including winning the 2017 U.S. World Trials in a best time of 4:33.86 en route to placing sixth in the World Championship final later that summer.

At the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials, Smith finished fourth in the 400 IM (4:34.55), just six-tenths outside of making the Olympic team.

Smith, 26, also recorded a time of 4:35.95 in the 500 free in what was her first yards swim in the event since setting a PB of 4:28.90 and placing second to Katie Ledecky at the 2017 NCAAs.

Other Highlights

  • 16-year-old Andrew Zou, who put up a time of 1:58.39 in the men’s 200 breaststroke to move into 35th all-time in the boys’ 15-16 age group. Zou’s previous best time in the event was 2:00.07, set in December 2020.
  • Longhorn Aquatics’ Karina Kanary, 16, produced respective times of 1:02.27 and 2:13.20 in the women’s 100 and 200 breaststroke, both lifetime bests. In the 200, she’s just over two-tenths shy of cracking the top-100 all-time in the girls’ 15-16 age group (2:12.99 is 100th).

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1 year ago

crazy that she’s only 26, she seems to have been around for so long

1 year ago

Change of scenery obviously has agreed with her. Good to see.

Leah Fan
1 year ago

Would love to hear a podcast with Leah. She had two extremely solid and consistent quads and am curious to hear about her pandemic year and transition to Texas. Loved her 400 finals race at trials in ‘16. Not many people can say they’ve been anywhere near KL in a race 400 and up.

Let’s Go Brandon!
1 year ago

I’m a big Leah Smith fan. Congrats on her nifty 400y IM swim.

That said, I wonder how she evaluated her 400m free swim at US Olympic Trials this past June, and reckoned that swimming 2 grueling 400 IMs the previous day may have negatively impacted her 400 free efforts — and perhaps wished she’d opted out of the IM. Just curious.

Best wishes to Leah!

Reply to  Let’s Go Brandon!
1 year ago

I think moving forward her best shot at the team is the 400 IM and 4×200 free relay.

Reply to  Wow
1 year ago

Leah was 4:01 to medal at Worlds in 2019. She had a bad trials this summer for sure — but if she’s motivated and can get anywhere close to her PR, I still see her as the most likely #2 in the 400.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  swimgeek
1 year ago

Leah has also been 4:00.65 in the 400 free at 2016 US Olympic trials in Omaha

Reply to  Wow
1 year ago

I am also a big Leah Smith fan and hope that she makes the 2024 team.

Reply to  Let’s Go Brandon!
1 year ago

“and also claiming bronze individually in the 800 free.”


About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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