Katie Ledecky Breaks Own 800m Free World Record in Austin
Olympic champion Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.) broke her own world record in the women’s 800-meter freestyle with a time of 8 minutes, 6.68 seconds on Sunday at the Arena Pro Swim Series at Austin.
The swim brought the sellout crowd at the University of Texas’ Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center to its feet, as Ledecky pulled away from the field early and swam under the pace of her previous mark – 8:07.39 from the 2015 FINA World Championships – throughout much of the race.
“It was exciting,” said Ledecky, who could hear the crowd at about the midway point of the race. “It’s always exciting when you can get pushed along by a crowd like this in Austin.”
Ledecky now owns the eight fastest performances all-time in the women’s 800m free, with two of them coming in Austin. Becca Mann (Homer Glen, Ill.) was second in 8:24.49.
“I was feeling good going into it; I knew I had some good swims this weekend,” Ledecky said. “Whenever I get going like that I get into a good rhythm with my freestyle. My stroke just feels good the whole weekend once I have one or two really good freestyle swims.”
Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md.), who set his first career world record in the same pool in 2001, preceded Ledecky’s swim with a win in the men’s 200m IM, touching in 1:58.00 to edge Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.), who finished in 1:58.43.
Defending Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers (Lake Forest, Ill.) won a tight contest in the men’s 100m back, finishing in 53.35, Olympian Cammile Adams (Cypress, Texas) pulled way over the final 100 meters to cruise to the women’s 200m fly win in 2:08.21 and SwimMAC Carolina teammate Katie Meili (Colleyville, Texas) won the women’s 100m breast in 1:06.75.
Fast-rising National Teamer Andrew Wilson (Bethesda, Md.) won the men’s 100m breast in 1:00.42, and Olympian Connor Jaeger (Fair Haven, N.J.) closed the meet with a victory in the men’s 1500m free in 15:06.24.
Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu edged Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.) in the women’s 100m back with a time of 59.91, and followed about 20 minutes later with a win in the women’s 200m IM in 2:10.69. Singapore’s Quah Zheng Wen won the men’s 200m fly in 1:58.07.
The Arena Pro Swim Series resumes March 3-5 in Orlando, Florida, with the third of seven stops. As part of USA Swimming’s partnership with swimwear leader Arena, the circuit will feature a record $350,000 in overall prize money. Swimmers may earn awards for top-three finishes in all individual Olympic events across the series. At each meet, $1,000 will be provided for a first-place finish, $600 for second and $200 for third. In addition to the single-event prize money, the overall male and female winners of the season-long Series will earn a $10,000 bonus.
For the third consecutive season, longtime USA Swimming partner BMW will award the grand prize of a one-year lease of a BMW vehicle to the highest-scoring eligible male and female U.S. swimmers.
Male and female overall Arena Pro Swim Series champions will be honored at the conclusion of the 2015-16 series based on the number of points accumulated throughout the seven meets. Participants will be awarded points in each individual Olympic event throughout the duration of the Series (Five points for first, three for second, one point for third place).