Ledecky Scorches NCAA, American Records with 4:25.15 500 Free


Stanford freshman Katie Ledecky was set in her usual winning ways on night 2 at the 2017 Pac-12 Swimming and Diving Championships in Federal Way Washington. Ledecky obliterated the 500 free field, tearing through the water en route to a 4:25.15 victory. With that, she broke her own former NCAA, U.S. Open, and American Record of 4:26.46 from the Ohio State Invite in December.

Splits Comparison:

Swimmer 1st 100 2nd 100 3rd 100 4th 100 5th 100 Final Time
Katie Ledecky (2017) 51.32 53.83 53.93 53.6 52.47 4:25.15
Katie Ledecky (2016) 51.77 53.91 53.91 53.59 53.28 4:26.46

The biggest difference in Ledecky’s race came on the final 100, where she split a 52.47 compared to her 53.28 back in December. She was also out slightly faster, turning in 51.32 compared to her 51.77 in her previous record swim.

At the touch, Ledecky finished 10 seconds ahead of anyone else in the field, but fellow Cardinal freshman Katie Drabot put up one of the fastest times in the nation with a 4:35.69 for 2nd place. Cal’s Katie McLaughlin also had a lights out swim to take bronze in 4:36.04.

Ledecky now has each of the 10 fastest swims in history, with Leah Smith‘s 4:30.37 from the 2015 NCAA Championships breaking her streak as the 11th-best swim of all-time.

Top 10 Swims of All-Time

  1. Katie Ledecky, 4:25.15, 2017
  2. Katie Ledecky, 4:26.46, 2016
  3. Katie Ledecky, 4:26.58, 2015
  4. Katie Ledecky, 4:27.21, 2015
  5. Katie Ledecky, 4:27.54, 2016
  6. Katie Ledecky, 4:27.88, 2015
  7. Katie Ledecky, 4:28.17, 2015
  8. Katie Ledecky, 4:28.37, 2017 (prelims today)
  9. Katie Ledecky, 4:28.71, 2014
  10. Katie Ledecky, 4:29.54, 2014
  11. Leah Smith, 4:30.37, 2015

In This Story


  1. HolyFast says:

    I can heat up my food in the microwave faster than that, so who’s the real winner here?

  2. Jody says:

    A great day to be a Katie!

  3. Fish says:

    Almost made the men’s “B” cut

  4. Years of Plain Suck says:

    Excellent time and effort.

    Before this evening I was curious if Clark Smith of Texas would swim fast enough to “lap” Ledecky in the 500. Based on their respective times, it appears he just was able to do that. He went 4:11.1. And she was probably turning at the 475 mark at about 4:12 (on her way to 4:25+

    She will be faster next month, and I don’t think any of the men will “lap” her at NCAAs in the 500. 🙂

    It would be interesting to see how she would fare in a special 500 time trial with male competitors.

    • Fight On says:

      You realize being 25 yards ahead isn’t lapping, right? Clark would have to be a 50 ahead to do that, and I don’t seem him going 4:00 in a 500 free any time soon.

    • Steve Nolan says:

      That’s getting “length’d.”

      Gotta be 50y ahead of someone to lap ’em, at least in my book.

      • Years of Plain Suck says:

        People differ on what constitutes a lap in swimming.

        Every time I’ve swum the 500 or 1650 in a meet, my counters had lap numbers that went to “19” in the 500 and “65” in the 1650.

        • Fight On says:

          I’m by no means a distance swimmer, but I’m pretty sure your counters are doing it wrong if they go all the way to 19 or 65 in those races. It’s supposed to be double reds at that point.

        • TXSWIMDAD says:

          Everyone who has swum knows what getting lapped means and it isn’t someone being a 25 ahead of you. It’s when they catch you

          • Coach Mike 1952 says:

            The starter’s instructions before any distance race: “Ladies / gentlemen, this will be a 1,000 freestyle, 40 lengths of the pool.” (example) THEY know…

    • Accswimfan says:

      Women’s and men’s swimming are separate. Personally, I think it’s bad etiquette in swimming to compare the two.

  5. HypeTrain says:

    We are all witnesses.

  6. More backstroke says:


  7. James says:

    Consider that Peter Vanderkay still holds the men’s 500 freestyle record from 2008; in nearly a decade not one male has gone faster. Katie Ledecky has taken 5 seconds off the women’s world record in basically the past 2 years. She has moved the threshold of what women can do in the pool to an entirely new stratosphere.

    I certainly don’t think she needs to be compared to men from a time standpoint…Though it is clear she can hold her own against all but the elite males of college swimming (I.e. NCAA qualifiers).

    • Lsswim says:

      Agreed. She is changing the face of women’s swimming and it’s mind boggling how fast she is!! I may be crazy, but I think she has a legit shot at the 4:20 barrier in the coming years.

  8. Andy says:

    Katie Ledecky doing Katie Ledecky things.

  9. outside smoke says:

    i know this is a wild thought, but imagine if KL breaks the 4:20 barrier before any other female breaks 4:30….she’s already closer than it looks (she’ll be 4:23 or better at NCAAs). obviously Leah Smith is looking good for that 4:30 mark but it’s still just incredible that this is even a remote possibility

    • Ervin says:

      Could be possible. Leah Smith essentially only has 2 more shots at it. I don’t see when she’ll swim a tapered yards meet in the near future. Katie on the other hand will have many more opportunities

  10. bobo gigi says:

    She has never really swum fully tapered in yards as her focus was all about long course.
    Maybe it’s the first time she will make a short course season with a clear taper meet. And the damages could be huge.
    4.25 not tapered, that’s amazing.
    But we are used to saying amazing about KL.

    • Prickle says:

      She was tapered at final meets of her high school career. Under 9 min record at 1000y was made then. You cannot beat Katie Hoff by more than 10seconds not being specially prepared for such a race. Please, be more careful with your statements if you are not sure.

      • freeforall says:

        If there is a “big meet” swimmer in existence today- it is Ledecky. Never, EVER doubt her. I would go as far as saying KL is more of a big meet swimmer than MP himself

    • SwimGeek says:

      When she went 4:26 as a HS senior in 2015, that was her big focus meet on the winter. I think it’s safe to say she was tapered for that. Moreover she has broken WORLD RECORDS many times without being at her focus meet (Austin last year; Woodlands, TX year before) — so take that into consideration too.

  11. tea rex says:

    I would not be totally surprised if Ledecky swims under 4:30 again on Saturday – as a 1650 split. Her best 1000 was basically split 4:29/4:29

  12. Training? says:

    What is her weekly yardage during heavy training?

Leave a Reply

Name will be published. Email address will not. By commenting you agree to our Terms of Use & Privacy Policy.

About Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh

Lauren Neidigh is a former NCAA swimmer at the University of Arizona and the University of Florida. She got her M.S. in Criminology from Florida State and seems exceptionally confused about which team she should cheer for during the college football season. Lauren is currently working on her M.A. in …

Read More »

Don't want to miss anything?

Subscribe to our newsletter and receive our latest updates!