Ledecky: “400 IM gives my lungs a feeling that doesn’t leave” (Video)

Reported by Chelsea Howard.



The 400 IM came down to a duel between Canadian Mary-Sophie Harvey and America’s Katie Ledecky in the final 20 meters of the race.  Ledecky had the lead over Harvey by a body length and a half after the backstroke leg, but Ledecky fell off during breaststroke. She was fifth at the 300 mark and closed out the race splitting 59.5 in freestyle (which was almost two seconds faster than Harvey’s freestyle split), but it wasn’t enough to win. 17 year-old Harvey finished with a 4:38.05 while Ledecky swam a 4:38.16 – still over 4 seconds faster than her morning swim.

The B Final in the 400 IM was one of the youngest heats we’ve seen yet. Seven of the swimmers were 20 years-old or younger. The youngest of the field at 13 years-old was Mariah Denigan who finished third with a 4:54.95 and was just 0.01 off her personal best. Hannah Cox’s time was just off her life time best as well with a 4:50.89 and she went nearly nine seconds faster than her swim this morning.

Top 8

  1. Harvey, 4:38.05
  2. Ledecky, 4:38.16
  3. Cox, 4:40.37
  4. Margalis, 4:40.47
  5. Eastin, 4:41.19
  6. Anderson, 4:49.54
  7. Forde, 4:50.00
  8. Nguyen, 4:50.89



Olympian Katie Ledecky didn’t let a tough double stop her tonight. Just two heats and 24 minutes before she raced in the 200 freestyle, she swam the 400 IM. This race she came out on top with the fourth fastest time in the world this year at a 1:56.31 with Leah Smith two seconds behind her in a 1:58.47 and Simone Manuel in third with a 1:58.98.

Ledecky said that she had just enough time to swim an 800 in between the two races. Melanie Margalis, who finished sixth with a 2:02.08, also did the 400 IM and 200 Free double.

Top 8

  1. Ledecky, 1:56.31
  2. Smith, 1:58.47
  3. Manuel, 1:58.98
  4. Hansson, 1:59.68
  5. Drabot, 2:00.38
  6. Margalis, 2:02.08
  7. Worrell, 2:03.47
  8. Case, 2:03.98

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Despite Katie Ledecky hasn’t set her personal best at 400IM being 0.23sec slower, there are two things that has to be noticed: 1. She swam her fastest ever last 50 at this event – 28.84 sec 2. Her backstroke leg has been improved by 1.43 sec: from 1:12.32 to 1:10.89. Which is good, because her technique at this stroke looked terrible like she is not gliding but struggling against water. On the negative side we have no time improvement at other strokes. That is a bad sign because I would expect that she will get this stroke training in Stanford swimming for Greg Meehan. The training that she didn’t focused at working with Bruce Gemmell. Her American record at 400IM… Read more »


KL will never be at the level of her 400 and 800 free in the 400im


Possibly not, but there’s nothing wrong with experimenting in smaller events to mix things up.


She is so far ahead of the rest of the world in the 400 and 800 free. Almost nobody will ever be at that level in anything. She could probably get to world class, maybe even world best, in the 400 IM. I think most people would be happy with that.

Attila the Runt

LCM exposes weakness primarily in breastroke compared to SCY where you have all the turns. There are lots of people who are good at a 400 IM SCY but never do well in LCM. If you listen to the interview, she says she spends one day a week focusing on backstroke — the rest of the time is freestyle. The backstroke is more for variety, but primarily to provide better ROM and balance/stability to her shoulders and prevent the upper-crossed syndrome from doing freestyle all the time. She has zero focus or interest in becoming an IMer. The only interest is from fans.


I don’t think anyone is suggesting she retire from freestyle, but considering she swam the IM about 10 times last year, including conference champs, suggests she has more than zero focus on this one…


I agree that she does have an interest in 400IM. She said not long time ago that if it would be nothing left to challenge at freestyle she will look at IM. In her post race interview she says that she is not going to compete internationally at IM at least now. You see? Just at her current conditions. It doesn’t exclude anything and doesn’t indicate absence of interest. From what she said about her training at other strokes and from what can be driven from Attila’s comment her solution to the 400IM project is in finding the second strong stroke where the progress can be done by 5-7 seconds. The backstroke is the choice made. If she manages to… Read more »


She said it clearly that her focus wasnt her time. Same with Simone. I think all the Stanford girls have the same goals at this meet. It’s just a start of then LC season for them to get ready for the World Championship.

If KL really wants to train for 400IM, she can beat anyone. She said ut in her interview that the goal is to try to see how she recovers for the 200 free. At World, she will swim 1500m and then 200m right after I think.


You guys realize that this is an early season training meet, right?

Tony Stark

Ledecky clearly wants that IM medal.

Since IM events were instituted, most female all time greats (ATG) have won IM golds or other medals in the Olympics and/or world championships (in addition to their core events):
Shane Gould, Kornelia Ender, Tracy Caulkins, Kristin Otto, Janet Evans, Kristina Egerszegi, Nathalie Coughlin.

Ledecky knows that winning IM medal (preferably gold) will cement her status as the GOAT female swimmer.

Attila the Runt

You can scratch Ender and Otto off your list, because they were part of the DDR doping machine. If she really wanted an IM medal, she’d be practicing fly and breast, too. In the interview, she says she spends one day a week focusing on backstroke. Assuming she stays healthy and interested, and given the gap in her superiority (and the discouragement to others trying to enter the event), she could win the 400/800 golds plus relays for several Olympics to come. She’s probably much more interested in solidifying herself as the fastest ever at 200-400-800-1500 and being competitive in the 100 free to stay on relays. She still doesn’t have the 200 LCM free WR. The 400 IM is… Read more »


I would tend to agree with this version Attila . Makes much more sense …..if her breast is not improving ,there is no need to hope for a medal in the 400 IM ( thats where MP or Lochte could run away with the win quite often ) . Its for training purpose and fun & diversity ( keeping swimming exciting and interesting ands passionate ) .


I think that 200-400-800-1500 world records is more outstanding achievement than addition of one more medal to her already impressive collection. Gould’s 100 through 1500 records were held simultaneously for very short period of time and it was forty five years ago when swimming competition was completely different. If Katie manages to have four world records then that achievement will last for very long time. Last year right after Olympic Games I thought that this new world record is within the reach. But her college season shook my confidence because I saw no progress done. Her 500 and 200 time improvement compare to her high school records were a reflection of great shape of 2016 season. Her tapering process for… Read more »


I think it’s funny when Ledecky pretends to be human.


She is human – eats , sleeps , breaths , rests , like anyone else …..


Whaaaaat? You don’t say?



About Coleman Hodges

Coleman Hodges

Coleman started his journey in the water at age 1, and although he actually has no memory of that, something must have stuck. A Missouri native, he joined the Columbia Swim Club at age 9, where he is still remembered for his stylish dragon swim trunks. After giving up on …

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