Things We are Thankful For: Katie Ledecky Stats

We love watching Katie Ledecky swim. She’s aggressive, she’s poised, and she’s cool under pressure.

But even more than that, we love writing about Katie Ledecky‘s swims. She sometimes makes our lives too easy. That’s because her swims are so good, so dominant, so disparate in quality from anything we’ve seen in at least a generation, and probably longer, that the stats just flow out of the calculators. There’s no hunting for a storyline – it’s a king’s ransom of storylines to follow.

And on this Thanksgiving morning, I received an email from one of SwimSwam’s resident stat super-nerds, Barry Revzin, dissecting a new angle of her latest super feat, a 15:03.92 in the 1650 free.

Among all of the NCAA Records on the books, Ledecky’s swim is the only record whose average pace is an NCAA A cut for a shorter distance. In other words, her average 500 yards of the 1650 swim comes out to a 4:33.9, which is .9% better than the NCAA A cut in a standalone 500 yard free.

Next closest?

  • Katinka Hosszu‘s 400 IM record is 3:56.54 (1:58.2 is 2.5% above the A cut for the 200 IM)
  • Ledecky’s 500 free record is 4:26.46 (1:46.58 is 2.9% above the A cut for the 200 free).

It’s always Ledecky or Hosszu, the world’s two best female swimmers at the moment. Also, Ledecky’s mile record is the furthest on the books below the current A cut (5.2% under). Next is Dressel’s 50 (4.7% under).

Happy Thanksgiving!

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3 years ago

You said Ledeckys record is 4:16, think you mean 4:26

X Glide
Reply to  Kaez
3 years ago

Just leave it. It’s probably going to happen anyways lol.

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  X Glide
3 years ago

LOL. Also, according to one of the time conversion utilities on the Net, Katie’s 15:03.92 would translate to 14:51.31 for 1500 SCM. Let’s have some fun pondering this with some more averages: a yard is .9144 meters; therefore, 1650 yards is 1508.76 meters. Since 1500 meters is the actual race, Katie actually swam 1508.76 meters doing her 1650. 1500 / 1508.76 = 0.9941939075797344. Take the 15:03.92 x 0.9941939075797344 = 14:58.67, based on average velocity. Still under 15 even if the conversion utilities are off. And that’s now, November. As her turns improve, it will only get better. Like X Glide said, “Just leave it. It’s probably going to happen anyway”. What an amazing swim THAT would be. Happy holidays everyone!

3 years ago

How long had 47.69 been the women’s a cut? Missy was out in 47.74 going her 1:39.10.

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Now that’s just plain absurd. The men’s 16:50 record is at 4:21.8 pace/500, no where near the A cut

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

Ah, my mistake. Thanks

3 years ago

It wasn’t explained what criteria were used by Baden Keith when he called Hosszu the best female swimmer of the moment. Her achievements this year are not even close to one’s of Cate Campbell, Katie Ledecky and Sarah Sjostrom (listed alphabetically). Their world records are monumental. The three Olympic gold medals of Hosszu are pretty much a matter of luck and weak field. Times shown at those races were not impressive.

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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