WATCH: Katie Ledecky Break NCAA Records in 1000, 1650 Free

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:

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Grand Inquisitor
4 years ago

Of course this can’t be a world record since it’s in SCY, but would be fun to see KL take a run at the 1500m SCM record someday soon. Based on this effort, there’s no reason to think she wouldn’t surpass Mireia Belmonte’s 15:19.71 by somewhere around 15 (or perhaps 20) seconds.

tea rex
Reply to  The Grand Inquisitor
4 years ago

1500m is 1640 yards (which is why Americans swim the 1650 – a mile is technically 1760 yards).
66 laps instead of 60, but just 10 more meters of swimming.

I think most swimmers would probably have about the same time in a 1650 SCY as in 1500 SCM.

Reply to  tea rex
4 years ago

🙂 🙂 I know that all this conversions are BS. For example, Missy Franklin’s 1:39.10 SCY is converted into 1:52.10 LCM. Missy probably is not even dreaming of that. At the same time the same conversion utility is pretty much accurate about Ledecky. Her 1:41.04 SCY shown a year ago converts into 1:54.29 LCM. Wow!!! If it still works in her case then her 1:53.73 Olympic gold race corresponds 1:40.53 SCY. That is where Ledecky is now I think. It will make Ledecky #2 all-time but still far away of Franklin’s record (it’s time to introduce new expression in swimming to measure the drop of performance in short period of time – Franklinesque)
One more story about conversion utilities.… Read more »

Reply to  Prickle
4 years ago

Why would 1650 yards convert to a different 1500 meter time for males than females?

Reply to  CraigH
4 years ago

That is what the conversion utility from does. I have no clue why it differentiates between male and female.

Years of Plain Suck
4 years ago

Wonderful swim.

Her turns seem to have improved. She stays down longer, and there’s a bit more streamlining. I loved her ferocious dolphin-kicks off her 65th wall!

Very nice.

4 years ago

I would love to see her try the open water. Start with 5K. I think it is a totally different from pool swimming. Lots of tactics. But I think she can still dominate. Hope maybe in the future she gives it a try.

For now she will dominate the distance swims in college. Her next challenge should be 200 Free and 400 IM. I think she has improved so much in her IM. If she can improve her backstroke and breaststroke, she definitely can give Hosszu a run for 200IM and 400IM. Ledecky’s freestyle is superb and if she can be near or ahead of her competitors, she will her hands first on the wall.

Reply to  ADSF
4 years ago

Open water would be fun to see. She would dominate. She’s got more endurance than anyone. And she’s got more speed than all but a handful of true sprinters. That would be an unbeatable combination. She could go off the front by methodically swimming others off her feet. Or she could just sit in the pack and hammer the final 200-400 meters.

Reply to  ADSF
4 years ago

It looks very much like Katie Ledecky will be #1 at 400IM SCY in a few months. But we should be very careful with extrapolating such success to the LCM race. As much as SCY benefits sprinters by requiring less endurance it also benefits those of poor stroke technique. The less time a swimmer have to swim above the water the less damaging will be her/his deficiency in stroke technique. The record at SCY belongs to Katinka Hosszu (3:56) and is seems to be reachable. Will Katie Ledecky swim 4:30 in LCM is hard to predict unless we see that she found the way to improve her backstroke style. It is not a question of power or endurance. Her backstroke… Read more »

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, …

Read More »