GREENSBORO, N.C. – Olympians Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md./Nation’s Capital Swim Club/Alto Swim Club) and Jordan Wilimovsky (Malibu, Calif./Team Santa Monica) cruised to 800-meter freestyle victories on Wednesday to open the USA Swimming Winter National Championships at the Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Ledecky, the world-record holder in the event, touched in 8 minutes, 14.40 seconds to win by nearly 14 seconds and become the first qualifier for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming. Winter Nationals marks the opening of the qualification period for next Olympic Trials, the sole qualifier for American swimmers for the pool competition at the Olympic Games. Fourteen swimmers qualified for 2020 Trials, slated for June 21-28, 2020, in Omaha, Nebraska, in tonight’s 800m free.
“I wasn’t really focused on time. I was more just focused on the structure and how I was swimming it,” Ledecky said. “I just barely negative split it, which was good, which was what I was trying to do. I qualified for Omaha, so that’s good.”
Ashley Twichell (Fayetteville, N.Y. TAC Titans) was second in 8:28.16, with Erica Sullivan (Las Vegas, Nev./Sandpipers of Nevada) taking third in 8:29.02.
Wilimovsky won the men’s event in 7:56.88, 13 seconds clear of the field. Brennan Gravley (Las Vegas, Nev./Sandpipers of Nevada) was second in 8:09.95, followed by Ross Dant (Hickory, N.C./Hickory Foundation YMCA) in third in 8:10.99.
NBC Sports and USA Swimming will feature daily coverage from Greensboro, including live finals broadcasts on the Olympic Channel on Thursday and Friday. A live stream of daily prelims and Dec. 1 finals will air on usaswimming.org. Following a taped Dec. 2 broadcast on NBC Sports Network, a one-hour package from Winter Nationals will air on NBC on Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. ET.