Words have begun to pale in their ability to describe the level of dominance by which Katie Ledecky has undone competitive distance freestyle swimming. But, she continues to tick the records faster and faster, sometimes by margins, sometimes by mountains.
Her latest conquest is of the 1650 yard freestyle swum at the Ohio State Invitational on Sunday. There, Ledecky ran up a 15:03.92 – which broke her own American and U.S. Open Records in the event by almost 10 seconds; and the NCAA Record by a phenomenal 22 seconds. Her old fastest-ever was a 15:13.30, while the old fastest by a collegiate swimmer was Virginia’s Leah Smith, who swam 15:25.30 as a junior last year.
In the process, Ledecky also re-broke her own NCAA Record from earlier this year in the 1000 free. In a dual meet earlier this month against the Texas Longhorns, Ledecky swam a 9:10.49 in a finished-1000 free. On Sunday, the first 1000 yards of her 1650 free was 9:08.94, which counts as the new collegiate record. Her own personal best of 8:59 still stands as the U.S. Open and American Records.
Stanford as an NCAA team is technically done for the semester, and while two members of the squad (Katie Drabot, Ella Eastin) will travel to the World Short Course Championships with the U.S. National Team, Stanford has confirmed that neither Ledecky nor anyone else on the women’s team will swim at Winter Nationals. Otherwise, the Cardinal resume their racing on January 20th with back-to-back duals against Arizona State and Arizona. That’s the start of a very in-conference spring, where their whole schedule will consist of 5 Pac-12 dual meets, the Pac-12 championships, and the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis in March.
Video below, courtesy Oscar Thomas: