Ledecky Breaks U.S. Open Record, Swims 2nd Fastest 400 Ever In 3:57.9

2018 INDIANAPOLIS PRO SWIM SERIES

After an incredible world record performance in her first race as a professional last night, scorching a 15:20.48 in the 1500 freestyle at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Indianaplis, American superstar Katie Ledecky was back at it on Thursday. Ledecky uncorked a 3:57.94 in the 400 freestyle, breaking her own U.S. Open Record while registering the 2nd fastest swim of all-time.

Ledecky set the U.S. Open Record last summer, swimming to a 3:58.44 at the U.S. World Trials meet contested in the same pool she swam in tonight. Her 3:57.94 knocks former world record holder Federica Pellegrini out of the all-time top ten performances, as the 21-year-old phenom now owns the ten fastest swims ever. Pellegrini set the world record back in the super-suit era of 2009 in 3:59.15. Ledecky currently holds the world record at 3:56.46, done at the Rio Olympics.

Olympic bronze and World Championship silver medalist in this event Leah Smith was 2nd, over eight seconds back of Ledecky in 4:06.67, while Ledecky’s Stanford teammate Katie Drabot had a strong showing to take 3rd in 4:08.29.

Fastest Performances Ever
1 Katie Ledecky 3:56.46
2 Katie Ledecky 3:57.94
3 Katie Ledecky 3:58.34
4 Katie Ledecky 3:58.37
5 Katie Ledecky 3:58.44
6 Katie Ledecky 3:58.71
7 Katie Ledecky 3:58.86
8 Katie Ledecky 3:58.98
9 Katie Ledecky 3:59.06
10 Katie Ledecky 3:59.13

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Joe Bagodonuts
4 years ago

Wouldn’t it be interesting if, some time when she’s fully tapered or something for a big meet, to have Katie put on one of the super-suits and see what kind of time she could turn in? Anyone care to speculate?

AquaTiger
Reply to  Joe Bagodonuts
4 years ago

Or for that matter any of the current great swimmers in a now banned suit. I’d love to see Dressel in a super fast suit. Ledecky in a banned suit, just for fun. Knowing that it wouldn’t count for anything, just a test to see. That would be awesome.

Willis Munarwo
4 years ago

The 400free and the 800free WR are under threat this year so i think.In that 1500free she went 8.11:70 in the 800m and no one has ever been under 8:13 that is ridiculous.I think on Saturday she will go under 8.09sec if not posting the second fastest 800free

James Bogen
4 years ago

One thing that I haven’t seen mentioned is that leading up to the 2016 Trials and Olympics, Katie Ledecky was just training and not attending school. As many people may recall, she started college a year later. Adjusting to a new coach and a college schedule (particularly after spending about a year just training) is definitely a challenge.

Sum Ting Wong
4 years ago

Beside talent & drive what KL has is to have been free of injury & sickness for 6 years .

Vic
4 years ago

Who’s her coach now?

SwimGeek
Reply to  Vic
4 years ago

She’s still at Stanford. Given their late schedule, she’s probably not even done with classes yet.

tammy touchpad error
4 years ago

Is she > phelps? What does she have to do if not? Margin of dominance not enough?

swim2fit
Reply to  tammy touchpad error
4 years ago

Phelps had at one point missed the world record in the 100/200 back by less than a tenth, held the world record in the 200/400 IM, 100/200 fly, 200 free, held American record in 100 free, made national team in 200 breast, and won 8 golds in one Olympics…it’s kinda impossible. In my opinion Phelps was actually a bit underrated to be honest….super swim nerds who have no bias against Phelps for his out-of-pool actions: back me up here

Caeleb Dressel Will Win 9 Gold Medals in Tokyo
Reply to  swim2fit
4 years ago

It feels weird to say that the most dominant swimmer in history is underrated. But it’s true. Even his off years where he wasn’t committing to training, were phenomenal years for anyone else.

Morgan Priestley
Reply to  swim2fit
4 years ago

I’ll back you up here. Will never forget that Summer 2007 Nats in Indy when he swam the 100 and 200 back, probably not in peak form, and barely missed both of those world records. The guy stomped everyone at that ‘07 Worlds meet just months prior, winning races by 7-10 meters.

If anything, the super suits—which rewarded those with poorer technique more—probably brought everyone back closer to him.

Togger
Reply to  swim2fit
4 years ago

Agreed, his sheer range was absolutely staggering.

To win 5 individual golds at a single Worldls or Olympics is simply incredible. To do it more than once completely insane.

For KL, she would need to do the 200-1500 sweep and throw in the 4IM in both 2019 and 2020.

Does she have the potential? Unquestionably. But you have to remember her 2016 Olympics is still only equivalent to Phelps ‘04, not the ‘07/08 model.

Outside smoke
Reply to  tammy touchpad error
4 years ago

1. Versatility on the international stage (though I suppose you could make a case for versatility of distance vs versatility of stroke – I still give Phelps the edge here)
2. Longevity (I think KL is absolutely incredible, but she’s been utterly dominant for 6ish years now — Phelps was utterly dominant for 13-15 years)

Jim C
Reply to  tammy touchpad error
4 years ago

Continue at least through the 2024 Olympics if not the 2928 Olympics.

Jim C
Reply to  Jim C
4 years ago

Typo

Dan
Reply to  tammy touchpad error
4 years ago

I think if she wins the 200, 400, 800, 1500, and swims on winning 4×100 and 4×200 relays, and comes back in 2024 with a similar performance, with a handful of strong world champs meets along the way, then time to have that discussion. If she adds the 400 IM and wins at a big stage, that would help too. I think she can do this, but she would have to stay healthy and motivated.

I am not in any way trying to lessen her accomplishments. I think she may already be the greatest freestyler ever, given her range from 200-1500 and ability to drop a fast enough relay split to make the US team. Add on her flat out… Read more »

Bo swims
Reply to  Dan
4 years ago

USA won’t win those relays in 2020

Swimmerj
Reply to  Bo swims
4 years ago

They will when Mallory and Simone start hitting 51s

Togger
Reply to  Dan
4 years ago

I think Thorpe’s the only other one even in the conversation (partly aided by the longevity of that 400 textile best, which KL can’t have yet), but I suspect in 20 year’s time even he will be out of that discussion.

Philip Johnson
Reply to  tammy touchpad error
4 years ago

No, Phelps was more versatile

paloozas
4 years ago

what a legend

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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