Stanford Women Open NCAAs By Breaking All of the 800 Free Relay Records


The Stanford women were a whopping 4 seconds ahead of their own record pace from the Pac-12 Championships 3 weeks ago heading into the anchor leg of the women’s 800 free relay on Wednesday, and that anchor leg happened to be a swimmer, Katie Ledecky, who does nothing but break records.

The final result was a 6:45.91 that is the fastest swim in history by 3.5 seconds, beating-out the 6:49.42 that they swam at Pac-12s. They didn’t use Simone Manuel, who along with Ledecky is a favorite in the individual 200, at Pac-12s, but on Wednesday she led off with a 1:41.41.

Stanford is so deep that they’ve now been 5 seconds faster than any other relay in the history of this event – and they didn’t even use Katie Drabot, who swam this event individually at the 2014 Short Course World Championships for the USA – on the relay. What’s more, neither their relay Manuel nor their anchor Ledecky had their best swims.

Ella Eastin was the most remarkable split for Stanford on the relay, swimming 1:41.89 – half-a-second drop from Pac-12s. She’s actually the only holdover from the relay that got 6th at NCAAs last year – where she split a 1:42.18.

For those keeping score, the swim takes down the Stanford, Pac-12, IUPUI Natatorium, American, NCAA, and U.S. Open Records.

Comparative Splits:

Cal 2015 Pac-12s Stanford Pac-12s Stanford NCAAs
Pre-’17 Record Old Record New Record
Cierra Runge – 1:42.73 Lia Neal – 1:43.34 Simone Manuel – 1:41.41
Liz Pelton – 1:43.29 Katie Drabot – 1:43.43 Lia Neal – 1:42.15
Caroline Piehl – 1:43.48 Ella Eastin – 1:42.37 Ella Eastin – 1:41.89
Missy Franklin – 1:40.68 Katie Ledecky – 1:40.28 Katie Ledecky – 1:40.46
6:50.18 6:49.42 6:45.91

Some portion of this record is owed to the change last year to the NCAA Championship meet schedule that moves the event to an abbreviated, finals-only first day rather than holding it at the end of the grueling day 2 of the meet. A much bigger portion of it is owed to a Stanford team that is about to put a big stamp on the history books.


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One word. WOW!


I checked the USA swimming website for event rankings. That time beats about 30 division 1 men’s programs.


I also looked at most of those programs and although they are D1 they don’t offer swimming scholarships. I’m not saying that takes away from the accomplishment, just adding to the stat


Ledecky’s slow (for her) split might bode well for an insane 1650 if she’s been emphasizing distance over speed.


Or it may mean she’s not as fast as she was at Pac 12s. I’m not predicting she’ll go slower, but she can’t keep going faster and faster forever. There will come a point where she stops dropping time. Who knows when that will be but it will happen.


Agreed, but we’re talking SCY here, and she hasn’t been in a full-on, big meet SCY in forever. She’s usually in some local high school meet with no competition, double lapping (or more) the field, and not fully tapered. At nearly 5 seconds under the AR at the 600 point, there was no point in her putting the pedal to the metal in this relay. SImone’s leadoff is more worrisome.


Why is Simone’s lead off more worrisome when it is close to Katie’s split if you consider it is a flat start? It’s the first day. There’s still a lot more swimming to come. They didn’t need to pedal to the medal. There was no stopping the foursome. And are we really complaining after a 5 second drop off the record? Each and everyone of them did their job. End of story. Congrats Ladies.


Simone’s been faster this year (as has Katie). Simone’s coming off a peak experience at Rio (not in the discussion to co-champ) with many personal appearances since that she wasn’t accustomed to. It’s natural to have a let down in training, and increased pressure — she’s no longer an underdog at anything since she’s an Olympic champ. Ledecky is used to this. In the lead-off for Simone, it’s a much more amped environment, it was a close race at the leadoff, and that’s compared to Ledecky anchoring in free water already 5 seconds under the AR. We’ll see. Big Simone fan, but a bit worried. I’d say “doing their job” would have been at least matching best times for each… Read more »


You sure you’ve been watching Simone’s times this year. Not sure I see the pressure of being the Olympic champ wearing on her

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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