High school swimmer and former Olympian Katie Ledecky set the American record in the women’s 500-yeard freestyle race on Friday night. She was competing in the preliminaries at the Washington Interscholastic Swim & Dive Championships at the time. She clocked a final time of 4:28.71 which surpassed the previous mark set by Katie Hoff in 2008 by 1.76 seconds.
Katie Ledecky was the 2012-2013 All-Met Swimmer of the Year and is only the second swimmer in history to set an American record in the event at Metros. During her historic swim, Ledecky broke her own pre-existing national high school record by 2.67 seconds.
This accomplishment makes Katie Ledecky the first woman in history to complete the 500 freestyle in under four minutes and thirty seconds.
Here are some other amazing ways that put this feat in perspective:
- This is not Katie Ledecky’s first American record—she also holds the record for fastest 400 meter freestyle race which she achieved last summer at the 2013 World Aquatic Championships.
- The next swimmer to finish the race 500 yard prelim race did so more than 27 seconds after Katie touched the wall.
- Ledecky broke four different records in that one swim: the American record, the 15-16 NAG record, the meet record, and the national high school record. Out of those four, Katie already held those last three records.
- When she was at the 200 yard mark, Ledecky clocked in swimming a time of 1:44.97 which would have won that race length by nearly five seconds and would place her within the top 15 in women’s NCAA this year.
- Only eight college men in the NCAA’s Division I schools swam a faster 500 time than Ledecky.
- Oh, and she’s only 16!
Katie Ledecky swims for Stone Ridge School in Bethesda, Maryland. She won the gold medal in the 2012 London summer games when she finished the 800 meter swim four seconds ahead of the next competitor.
She also holds world records in the 800 meter freestyle and the 1500 freestyle.
I only get depressed when I think of what I had accomplished at that age. Give me a minute—I’ll think of something.