Smith on Ledecky: “I’ve been next to her for some of the most incredible swims”

Reported by Karl Ortegon.


  1. Katie Ledecky 4:00.51
  2. Leah Smith 4:04.72
  3. Melanie Margalis 4:08.84

Katie Ledecky of Stanford was just on top of her Indy splitting in this race, going out in 57.2 at the 100 and then 1:57.8 in the 200 free, but fell off of her pace and wound up just over the 4-minute barrier. She won the race by a considerable margin, though, hitting a 4:00.51, but she was well off of her 3:57.94 from Indy.

Leah Smith of Tuscon Ford Dealers took two seconds off of her season best to take 2nd in 4:04.72, while St. Petersburg Aquatics’ Melanie Margalis cruised under 4:10 for the first time ever with a 4:08.84. That’s the 4th-ranked time in the world this year for Smith. This bodes well for Margalis’s freestyle, as she will try to snag a relay spot on the 4×200 for Pan Pacs.

Of note, 16-year-old Regan Smith from Riptide went a lifetime best 4:14.34 to take fifth.

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Leah Smith was for so long quiet at the beginning of this season. She skipped competition with her young Chinese challengers in January and March. Her first appearance at PSS was so far away from what we would expect from her (even in training) that a small concern has risen, if she is ok.
Oh, yes. She Is Ok. 4:04 and 8:26 a very good times in the middle of the season. Still at 200 I would expect her to be well under 1:58.


She is so benefitting from constantly swimming next to Katie – thats something special not many swimmers have had the privilege in the past 4 years . Good on you Leah – u rock

Becky D

I once complained to my dad that I had to swim next to a very fast swimmer in a 200 fly. His reply: “Not for long, you didn’t.”


So you have a good genes and we can expect from you same great sense of humor and objectivity 😀

Becky D

I’ll remind him of that this Father’s Day.


Interesting fact: Leah Smith has already shared 4 consecutive gold winning major relays with Katie Ledecky and the fifth one most likely is coming this season. I think that is a very rare if not a unique case in the history of competitive swimming.

I think the rarity in this stat probably comes from 5 consecutive gold medal winning relays. That just doesn’t happen very often, and the reality is that there’s not a very big pool of “major relays” to choose from, to the definition of a modern swimmer anyway. FINA World Aquatics Championships didn’t start until 1973. Pan Pacs nont until 1985. So, presuming by “major relays” you mean Worlds + Pan Pacs/Euros/Asian Games/Commonwealth Games + Olympics, there just haven’t been very many “5-straight blocks” in which to accomplish this feat. But, off the top of my head, Lochte and Phelps won the 800 free relay at: 2007 Worlds 2008 Olympics 2009 Worlds 2010 Pan Pacs 2011 Worlds 2012 Olympics 2013 Worlds… Read more »


Ok, you’ve convinced me: Ledecky-Smith tandem is a regular stuff. 😀

tammy touchpad error

I thought Phelps wasn’t around in 2013


Except Phelps wasn’t on the ’13 or ’14 relays… Still got 6 in together before that. Vanderkaay and Berens were on a bunch of those too.

Oh right, good call. When it’s Phelps, you just kind of get on a roll and assume…

John D Beaty

Don’t forget Biondi and Jager from 1984-1992. 3 Olympics, 2 world championships and a Pan Pac in the 4×100 freestyle relay.

James Sutherland

Phelps and Lochte were also on 2004, 2005 and 2006 winning teams in the 4×2.

Phelps was on the ’14 relay at Pan Pacs, although, right the string was already broken because he wasn’t at Worlds in ’13.


Another thing to add to that is that Leah and Katie have been on the relay in the finals for four consecutive years and won gold each time. Dwyer wasn’t on the finals in 2011. But the combination of Lochte, Phelps, and Berens from 2008 to 2012 is very impressive. Obviously if you take the finals part out of it, Missy and Katie shared 4 straight from 2013 to 2016 as Missy raced in the prelims in Rio, but being part of that final relay for the USA is clearly a huge achievement given the USA’s depth in the 200 free.

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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