Katie Ledecky wins first individual NCAA title with American record in final teen race

Katie Ledecky
AP
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Katie Ledecky won her first individual NCAA title in typical Ledecky fashion, shattering one of her records in her last race as a teenager.

The Stanford freshman who turns 20 on Friday won the 500-yard freestyle in Indianapolis on Thursday in 4 minutes, 24.06 seconds. That lowered her previous American record time of 4:25.15 set at the Pac-12 Championships in February.

Ledecky holds the 11 fastest times in history in the 500-yard free, according to Swimswam.com. No other woman had broken 4:30 until Thursday, when Leah Smith took second in 4:28.90.

Full NCAA Championships results are here.

NCAA swimming is done in 25-yard pools versus 50-meters pools in major international meets.

Ledecky is now two for two at NCAAs after anchoring the Stanford women’s 4×200-yard freestyle relay team to an American record on Wednesday night.

Ledecky races two more individual events at NCAAs — the 200-yard free on Friday and the 1,650-yard free on Saturday.

The intriguing event is the 200-yard free, an event Ledecky has lost twice this season to Olympic champion teammate and fellow Stanford star Simone Manuel. Louisville sophomore Mallory Comerford, who is five months younger than Ledecky, outsplit Ledecky in the 4×200-yard free relay Wednesday, too.

Stanford is favored to take home its first NCAA women’s team title since 1998, when the Cardinal were led by another freshman — Misty Hyman, who would go on to win the 2000 Olympic 200m butterfly.

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