Ledecky Crushes 500 Free NCAA Record with 4:27 in OSU Invite Prelims

American distance star Katie Ledecky just made her NCAA Invitational debut for Stanford at the 2016 Ohio State Invite, and she did it in record-breaking fashion. Ledecky was well over 10 seconds faster than anyone else, racing to a 4:27.54 in prelims. That took down the previous mark of 4:30.37 set by Virginia’s Leah Smith, who was also a medalist at the Rio Olympics this summer, at the 2015 NCAA Championships. It was also within a second of her own American Record, which she set at 4:26.58 in 2015 at the D.C. Metro High School Championships.

Splits Comparison:

Swimmer 1st 100 2nd 100 3rd 100 4th 100 5th 100
Katie Ledecky 2016 51.64 54.48 54.05 54.16 53.21
Leah Smith 2015 51.35 54.38 55.03 55.32 54.29

Ledecky, who won 5 medals for Team USA at the 2016 Rio Olympics this summer, has been taking down Pool Records left and right since she started as a freshman with the Cardinal this fall. This isn’t the first NCAA Record she’s broken either. Last week, she shattered the record in the 1000 free, taking down Leah Smith‘s previous mark and breaking a 26-year-old Pool Record set by Janet Evans.

While Ledecky may have missed her American Record, this was only a prelims swim. That means we may see her lower the mark if she goes even faster in tonight’s final.

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4 years ago


4 years ago

I suspect we are going to see a lot of articles about record breaking this season…

Reply to  CBswims
4 years ago

KL and Simone are going to cover the full range of free events from 50 to 1650! Exciting time!

4 years ago

It begins…

4 years ago

Who else but Katie???

Swimmer A
4 years ago

Ahh I was there at DC metros when she set the American Record. I feel like that’s going down tonight.

4 years ago

Take note of her splitting kids (especially the 50s), study this and practice this. If you are going to go out fast, you have to back it up.. 2.3 differential and spits 3-9 essentially identical.

4 years ago

For those curious, the American record splits are 51.74, 54.03, 54.03, 53.96, 52.82. At least, as of this moment.

4 years ago

You really have to wonder where she could end up by end of this season? I mean, hypothetically she should be in the thick of hard training. Certainly see it going under 4:25….4:20 anyone?

Swimmer Thieroff
Reply to  James
4 years ago

I suppose if she goes a 4:20 flat then you could call that performance “blazing”

Reply to  Swimmer Thieroff
4 years ago

It certainly would rank very high….

Reply to  James
4 years ago

4:20 sounds absurd. But how many times has Ledecky made absurdity into reality?!

But in seriousness — she went 4:26 in Feb. 2015 (and BTW, that was in prelims), and went 3:58 that summer. She just went 3:56 in Rio. My prediction is she goes a 4:23.8 – 4:24.5 at NCAAs in March.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona (2013-2015) and the University of Florida (2011-2013). While her college swimming career left a bit to be desired, her Snapchat chin selfies and hot takes on Twitter do not disappoint. She's also a high school graduate of The …

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