New year, same routine for Katie Ledecky.
The Stanford freshman won two races by a combined 48 seconds at a dual meet with USC on Saturday.
Ledecky took the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:12.32. Runner-up Megan Byrnes, also a Stanford freshman, touched 36 seconds later in 9:48.68. Ledecky lapped everyone in the seven-swimmer race and was seven seconds from lapping the last-place finisher twice.
It’s easier to lap swimmers in NCAA races than at the Olympics. NCAA pools are 25 yards long. Olympic pools are 50 meters.
About 53 minutes later, Ledecky won the 500-yard freestyle in 4:34.98. Another Stanford freshman, Katie Drabot, took second in 4:47.00.
Both of Ledecky’s times Saturday were slower than her NCAA records of 9:08.4 and 4:26.46 set in November.
Ledecky has lost one freestyle final in her first NCAA season, a 200-yard free to teammate and Olympic 100m free co-champion Simone Manuel on Nov. 19. Ledecky and Manuel have not gone head-to-head in a freestyle final since. Ledecky had won at least 70 straight freestyle finals longer than 100 meters since Jan. 18, 2014, before that November defeat.
On Friday, Ledecky broke the Stanford pool record in the 200-yard free, clocking 1:43.48. Manuel came back on Saturday to win a 200-yard free in 1:42.72, snatching the pool record from her good friend.
Ledecky and Manuel could go head-to-head in the 200-yard free at NCAAs in one of the most anticipated college swimming races of all time.
Stanford has three meets left this season — at California on Feb. 11, the Pac-12 Championships in Federal Way, Wash., the last week of February and the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis in mid-March.
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