Ledecky turns in performance of the meet in Indy


Katie Ledecky celebrates her meet record in the 1500 at 2013 Nationals. (Medium)INDIANAPOLIS – Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky won her third individual event of the meet Saturday at the 2013 Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championship Trials, setting a meet record in the women’s 1500m freestyle in 15:47.15.


Her time bested the previous meet record of 15:52.10, set in 1988 by distance legend Janet Evans, and made her the second-fastest American of all time in this event, behind world record-holder Kate Ziegler. It was also the fastest time in the world this year.


Her swim earned her the Phillips 66 Performance of the Meet Award.


“I was really happy with it,” Ledecky said. “It was a swim I was looking forward to all week. I just wanted to go out with a bang.”


Ledecky was in control of the race from the start and was ahead of world-record pace through the 800-meter mark. She finished more than 20 seconds ahead of runner-up Chloe Sutton, who touched in 16:07.75.


“I just wanted to swim a controlled swim, feel good and see what I could do,” Ledecky said.


It was the third time this week Ledecky and Sutton went 1-2 in their races. They also topped the field in the 400m and 800m free.


With the win, Ledecky added a fifth event to her program at the 15th FINA World Championships, to be held July 28-Aug. 4 in Barcelona. She will swim the 200m, 400m, 800m free and the 4x200m free relay at Worlds. She finished first in each of those events this week, except the 200m free. She was second behind five-time Olympic medalist Missy Franklin in that event.


“I’m looking forward to seeing what the U.S. can do in Barcelona,” Ledecky said.


Qualifying for his sixth event at Worlds was Olympic champion Ryan Lochte, who won the 200m IM in 1:55.44.


Lochte was out ahead of world-record pace through the first 100m, before falling off at the end of the breaststroke leg. Still, his time was the fastest in the world this year.


“That’s the story of this meet for me – going out fast and holding on for dear life,” Lochte said. “I have four more weeks until worlds. Hopefully my legs won’t be as tired.”


Conor Dwyer finished second in 1:57.74, qualifying for his third event at Worlds. Dwyer will also be swimming the 200m free and 4x200m free relay in Barcelona.


Lochte, meanwhile, qualified for Worlds in the 200m IM, the 200m free, the 200m back, the 100m fly, the 4x100m free relay and the 4x200m free relay. He took home titles in the 200m IM, 200m free and 200m back this week.


His efforts earned him the Men’s Kiphuth Award for high points, an honor he shared with Missy Franklin, who won the women’s award.


“My performance at this meet wasn’t good,” Lochte said. “I know I’m capable of going a lot faster than that. I think my lack of training this year shows. The next two years, I’m going back to work.”


In other events, Olympian Connor Jaeger set the U.S. Open and meet record in the men’s 800m freestyle, turning in a time of 7:46.78. It was his third national title this week, following wins in the 400m free and 1500m free. 


Finishing second behind Jaeger and qualifying for worlds in his second event was Michael McBroom in 7:46.78. Jaeger and McBroom also went 1-2 in the 1500m free on the first night of competition.


Olympian Nathan Adrian tied the meet record in the men’s 50m free with a time of 21.47. He edged out 2012 Olympic and Cal Aquatics training teammate Anthony Ervin, who finished second in 21.70.


Adrian’s time was the fastest in the world this year, and was the third event in which he qualified for Worlds after winning the 100m free on Tuesday. He will also swim on the 4x100m free relay at Worlds. Ervin has qualified for worlds in two events – the 50m free and the 4x100m free relay.


“I think it took a little while to get mentally prepared for this meet,” Adrian said. “It took a little while for me to get into it, but I think I finally got the hang of it.”


Adrian’s Cal Aquatics teammate Natalie Coughlin won her first event of the meet in the women’s 50m free, out-touching runner up Simone Manuel 24.97 to 25.01.


Manuel’s time was a 15-16 national age group record. She qualified for the Worlds earlier in the week in the 4x100m free relay.


Coughlin, who finished 5th in the 100 free, will also likely be added to that relay.


“I was trying not to look around,” Coughlin said. “I just wanted to keep my head down and my arms going until I hit the wall. I’ve worked a lot on my start and all the little details, and that definitely helped in my 50 a whole lot.”


Olympic bronze medalist Caitlin Leverenz qualified for her first World Championship event Saturday, winning the women’s 200m IM with a time of 2:10.13.


Leverenz took the race out strong and built a body-length lead by the end of the backstroke leg. From there, the rest of the field was fighting second as Leverenz cruised home for the win. Olympic teammate Elizabeth Beisel took that spot, touching out Melanie Margalis by 23-hundredths of a second in 2:12.11.


It was the second event in which Beisel qualified for Worlds. She also won the 400m IM on Thursday.


Cal Aquatics’ strong showing Saturday was instrumental in helping the team take the top spot in the combined team scoring with 471.5 points. Finishing second in the combined team standings was Tucson Ford Dealer Aquatics with 368.5 points, followed by SwimMac Carolina with 252.5 points.


The 2013 Phillips 66 National Championships and World Championship Team Trials came to a close with Saturday’s session. For more information about the meet, including complete results, go to www.usaswimming.org/nationals.