Katie Ledecky

Katie Ledecky wins in personal best time at U.S. Swimming Championships

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Any time Katie Ledecky swims a personal best, it’s a notable accomplishment.

Ledecky, the 10-time Olympic medalist, swam the fastest 400m individual medley of her career for her third victory in as many nights at the U.S. Championships in Irvine, California, on Thursday.

She clocked 4 minutes, 35.77 seconds to prevail by .89 of a second over fellow Olympian Leah Smith. Her time would have earned bronze at the world championships last month.

SWIMMING NATIONALS: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

She moved from outside the top 20 to No. 14 on the U.S. all-time list, passing 1988 Olympic 400m IM champion Janet Evans and 1992 Olympic 400m IM bronze medalist Summer Sanders.

Ledecky, whose previous best was 4:37.93 from 2016, does not swim the 400m IM at major international meets.

“I’ve got a lot of meters of racing that I would like to do at the big meets, so I think adding the 400m IM is a little bit of a stretch,” said Ledecky, who swam an Olympic record 6,200 meters in Tokyo (all freestyle).

It marked her first personal best in any event in an Olympic-size pool since her most recent world record in 2018.

The previous two days in Irvine, Ledecky swam the fourth-fastest 200m free of her career and won her trademark event, the 800m free, by 19.89 seconds. She did not enter any events on the last two days Friday and Saturday.

Later Thursday, Shaine Casas won the 100m butterfly in 50.40 seconds, a time that would have earned silver at last month’s worlds.

Casas, 22, matched Ian Crocker as the sixth-fastest man in history and the third-fastest American behind world record holder Caeleb Dressel and Michael Phelps, who held the world record before Dressel. Phelps’ best in a textile suit was 50.45.

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Katie Ledecky swims 200m free time at nationals that would have won world title

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Katie Ledecky didn’t swim the 200m freestyle at last month’s world championships, but her winning time at the U.S. Championships on Wednesday would have won the world title by nearly a half-second.

Ledecky prevailed in 1 minute, 54.50 seconds at nationals in Irvine, California, distancing Erin Gemmell (who lowered her personal best by 1.27 seconds on Wednesday) by 1.64 seconds. Ledecky is undefeated in domestic 200m free races for eight years.

“I’m really happy with that time,” she said on Olympic Channel. “I didn’t feel so great today, so really wasn’t expecting to go that fast.”

SWIMMING NATIONALS: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Ledecky swam the fourth-best time of her career. Only Australian rival Ariarne Titmus has gone faster this year — a 1:53.31 at her national championships in May. Titmus, who also broke Ledecky’s 400m free world record at Australian nationals, skipped worlds to focus on the Commonwealth Games that start later this week.

Ledecky passed on the 200m free at worlds in part because the 200m free semis were the same night as the 1500m free final.

China’s Yang Junxuan won the world title in 1:54.92. Neither American made the final.

Ledecky hasn’t decided whether she will re-add the 200m free to her program ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Last year, she was fifth in the 200m free, her shortest event, at the Tokyo Olympics, when she also won the 1500m free in the same session. For Paris, the 1500m free and 200m free are separated by two days, which betters the chances that Ledecky puts it back into her program at Olympic Trials.

Ledecky’s last victory in the 200m free at a major international meet was at the 2016 Rio Games.

In Wednesday’s men’s 200m free, 19-year-old Luke Hobson upset Olympian Kieran Smith and won in 1:46.14. Hobson, who was seventh at April’s world championships trials, lowered his personal best by 78 hundredths.

Matt Fallon, a rising Penn sophomore, won the men’s 200m breaststroke in a personal best by one second, 2:07.91, which would have won silver at the world championships. Fallon skipped April’s world team trials to focus on academics.

Mackenzie Looze, daughter of Indiana coach Ray Looze, won the women’s 200m breast in 2:25.35, a personal best by 2.14 seconds.

Isabelle Stadden upset world team members Rhyan White and Claire Curzan in the women’s 200m backstroke, prevailing in 2:07.29. She now ranks sixth in the world this year and fourth among Americans.

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Katie Ledecky wins by 19 seconds at swim nationals, owns top 29 times in history

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Katie Ledecky extended her 12-year win streak in her trademark event by winning the 800m freestyle on the first day of the five-day U.S. Swimming Championships in Irvine, California, on Tuesday.

Ledecky, who owns the 29 fastest times in history in the event, clocked 8 minutes, 12.03 seconds and won by 19.89 seconds over Kensey McMahon.

“I’m happy with that,” said Ledecky, whose time was No. 19 on the all-time list and 1.8 seconds better than the second-best performer in history, Australian rival Ariarne Titmus. “I didn’t really have any expectations coming into this.”

Last month, Ledecky won the 800m free at the world championships to become the first swimmer to win five consecutive titles in an individual event. They go along with her three Olympic golds in the event.

In two years, Ledecky can become the first woman to win four Olympic titles in the same individual event in any sport. The 800m free at the Paris Games is on the 12th anniversary of her first gold medal in the 800m free at age 15 at the London Olympics.

Ledecky is entered in the 100m free, 200m free and 400m individual medley later at nationals.

SWIMMING NATIONALS: Full Results | Broadcast Schedule

Also Tuesday, Olympian Natalie Hinds took the women’s 100m free in 53.53 seconds, a personal best by two hundredths at age 28. Hinds, who prevailed by .33 over Gretchen Walsh, now ranks second in the nation this year behind Torri Huske. Hinds was fourth at the world championships trials in April.

Olympian Zach Apple and Matt King tied for the win in the men’s 100m free in 48.44.

Dakota Luther edged Lindsay Looney in the women’s 200m butterfly by .23 of a second. Both went personal-best times that would have qualified them for worlds at April’s trials.

Luther’s 2:07.02, her first personal best since 2019, ranks her seventh in the world this year and third among Americans behind Olympic medalists Hali Flickinger and Regan Smith. Luther skipped April’s world trials due to academic commitments at Georgia and the quick, one-month turnaround from the NCAA Championships, according to Swimswam.com.

Rising Cal sophomore Gabriel Jett won the men’s 200m fly in 1:54.37, ranking him eighth in the world this year and fourth among Americans behind world team members Carson Foster, Luca Urlando and Trenton Julian. Jett, who was sixth at world championships trials, lowered his personal best by 2.21 seconds on Tuesday.

*Correction: An earlier version of this post stated Ledecky had the 28 fastest 800m free times in history. She has the 29 fastest.

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