Stanford 800 Free Relay Breaks NCAA Record With Ledecky Anchor


The Stanford Cardinal, anchored by their Olympic champion Katie Ledecky, have broken the Stanford, Pac-12, American, U.S. Open, and NCAA Records in the 800 yard freestyle relay, swimming a 6:49.42 on Wednesday to open the 2017 Pac 12 Championships.

The team of Lia NealKatie DrabotElla Eastin, and Ledecky, all Americans, clipped off the Cal effort from the 2015 Pac 12 Championships where Cierra Runge, Liz Pelton, Caroline Piehl, and Missy Franklin combined for a 6:50.18. That meet came about a month before Missy Franklin swam a 1:39.10 in an individual 200 free, which was easily the fastest in history. At NCAAs that year, Cal was a touch slower in 6:50.99.

Comparative Splits:

Cal Stanford
Cierra Runge 1:42.73 Lia Neal 1:43.34
Liz Pelton 1:43.29 Katie Drabot 1:43.43
Caroline Piehl 1:43.48 Ella Eastin 1:42.37
Missy Franklin 1:40.68 Katie Ledecky 1:40.28
6:50.18 6:49.42

What’s most impressive about this Stanford relay is that their pool of talent is so deep, that this wasn’t even their best relay. The team didn’t use Simone Manuel, who could very well win the individual 200 free at NCAAs, on the relay. Instead, she focused on the 200 medley relay that Stanford won and anchored them with the fastest 50 free relay split in history. Manuel’s flat-start best in the 200 free, from 2015, is a 1:41.15 – implying that even at Pac 12s, Stanford left at least 2 seconds on the table by choosing to save her for the other 4 relays (which, incidentally, could all break records of their own before they’re done).

Ledecky’s anchor on this relay pulled Stanford from about a three-tenths’ deficit to USC when she left the block to a 4 second margin of victory over Cal when she finished.


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11 Comments on "Stanford 800 Free Relay Breaks NCAA Record With Ledecky Anchor"

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And they did this WITHOUT the second fastest 200-yd freestyler in history (Simone). Unreal

Schmitt is the second fastest 200-yard freestyler, followed by Ledecky then Simone

My bad. You’re right. Schmitty went 1:40.62 in March 2015 (outside of college). Ledecky went 1:41.04 in Dec. 2015.

Sorry – I posted before noticing the article mentioned my point about 3 times!

Also of note — the youth of the top three teams!


And look at the incoming class for Stanford . . .

ugh. as a cal fan it’s painful to think about the absurd talent that stanford will have next year.

I think the old record had caroline piehl or someone else on it, when they broke it at Pac-12’s. I didn’t Cammile Cheng came on board at NCAA’s where they went slightly slower

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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