Katie Ledecky was in the pool in the first race of the night in Knoxville at the 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series. Ledecky never looked back in the women’s 1500m freestyle, winning easily with a time of 15 minutes 49.59 seconds. It was the kind of opening act no one wants to follow.
With 1000m completed, the five-time Olympic gold medalist had built a comfortable 25m lead over the eventual second place swimmer, Ashley Twichell, who finished her race with a time of 16:13.03. Erica Sullivan was third posting a time of 16:29.23.
Ledecky is the reigning world champion and world record holder in the event. The seven fastest times in the event after the world record, yeah, those are times also held by Ledecky.
Ledecky picked up four wins in all in Knoxville. On Thursday she got to the wall ahead of Simone Manuel to win the 200m freestyle in the first event of the evening session. Later that night, she faced her biggest challenge of the meet in the 400m IM when Hali Flickinger hung with her all the way to the finish. Ledecky was able to pick up the win, edging Flinkinger by just .41 hundredths of a second. On Friday evening Ledecky posted win #3 in the 400m freestyle. Flickinger was again her closest challenger, finishing roughly 7 seconds behind Ledecky.
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Katie Ledecky won the women’s 400m free by seven seconds on Friday evening at the TYR Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville, Tennessee. It marked Ledecky’s third win of the meet; the five-time Olympic gold medalist won the 200m free and 400m IM yesterday. She’ll conclude her program in Knoxville by competing in the 1500m tomorrow.
Other American stalwarts have also had strong showings in Knoxville. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Ryan Murphy won tonight’s 100m back final by more than a second, while four-time Olympic medalist Simone Manuel has also seen her share of success, winning the 50m free tonight and finishing second to Ledecky in yesterday’s 200m free.
One of the breakthrough performers of the meet has been Michigan native Annie Lazor, who won the 200m breaststroke tonight in a personal best of 2:23.51, just one day after winning the 100m breaststroke (also in a personal best). Lazor competed at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, but after not making the cut for Rio, opted to take a break from the sport. Lazor took a year away from competition before making the choice to return to the pool. The 24-year-old has recently been training at Indiana University, where she swims alongside fellow breaststroke specialists Lilly King and Cody Miller. Last month, Lazor won the 200m breaststroke at the Short Course World Championships, marking the first major international victory of her career.
The 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series gets underway this week in Knoxville, Tennessee. It marks the first of five stops of the season. A deep field of swimmers is competing in Knoxville, including five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, four-time Olympic medalist Simone Manuel, and three-time Olympic champion Ryan Murphy. At TYR Pro Swim Series meets, athletes earn prize money for top-three finishes ($1,500 for first place, $1,000 for second, and $500 for third).
Ledecky is entered in most of her usually dominant events, including the 200m free, 400m free, and 1500m free, as well as an event she has competed in less frequently: the 400 IM.
Manuel could compete in as many as seven events, though her most anticipated race is the 100m free, where she is expected to face Canadian Penny Oleksiak. The two athletes tied for gold in the event at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Here is the tune-in schedule for this week’s competition from Knoxville: