Katie Ledecky, who has broken 13 world records, set her first NCAA record on Saturday, lapping everybody in her race and winning by 34.85 seconds.
Ledecky, a five-time Olympic champion and Stanford freshman, took 10 seconds off the NCAA mark in the 1,000-yard freestyle in a duel meet with Texas on Saturday. She had lapped the other four swimmers with a little less than 200 yards to go.
Ledecky clocked 9:10.49 in Palo Alto, crushing Rio teammate Leah Smith‘s mark from the 2016 ACC Championships by 10 seconds. To Smith’s credit, her time came in the first 1,000 yards of a 1,650-yard free. The 1,000-yard freestyle is not contested at the NCAA Championships.
Ledecky’s American record in the 1,000-yard free is 8:59.65, set Dec. 13.
Ledecky is just three meets into her NCAA career, but here’s where her top times this season compare to NCAA records in other distances:
But Swiatek is not as dominant as in 2022, when she went 16-0 in the spring clay season during an overall 37-match win streak.
She retired from her most recent match with a right thigh injury last week and said it wasn’t serious. Before that, she lost the final of another clay-court tournament to Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Sabalenka, the No. 2 seed, and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, the No. 4 seed and Wimbledon champion, are the top challengers in Paris.
No. 3 Jessica Pegula and No. 6 Coco Gauff, runner-up to Swiatek last year, are the best hopes to become the first American to win a Grand Slam singles title since Sofia Kenin at the 2020 Australian Open. The 11-major drought is the longest for U.S. women since Seleswon the 1996 Australian Open.
But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.
Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.
Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They could meet in the semifinals.
Russian Daniil Medvedev, who lost in the French Open first round in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, is improved on clay. He won the Italian Open, the last top-level clay event before the French Open, and is the No. 2 seed ahead of Djokovic.
No. 9 Taylor Fritz, No. 12 Frances Tiafoe and No. 16 Tommy Paul are the highest-seeded Americans, all looking to become the first U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals since Andre Agassi in 2003. Since then, five different American men combined to make the fourth round on eight occasions.