Katie Ledecky Breaks Own 400m Free World Record at Pan Pacs
Katie Ledecky Breaks Own 400m Free World Record at Pan Pacs
Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky (Bethesda, Md.) eclipsed her own world record in the 400-meter freestyle, Michael Phelps (Baltimore, Md.) won the 100m butterfly and Tyler Clary (Riverside, Calif.) brought home gold in the 200m backstroke on Saturday at the Pan Pacific Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Center.
For the third straight night, Team USA tallied 10 total medals – three gold, four silver and three bronze.
After breaking the world record in the 400m free for the first time on Aug. 9 at USA Swimming’s Phillips 66 National Championships, Ledecky bettered her mark Saturday with at time of 3 minutes, 58.37 seconds.
“It’s a great feeling,” Ledecky said. “It never really gets old. I knew I could be right at what I was a couple weeks ago at Nationals or a little better, so I’m really pleased with that.”
For his first international victory since the 2012 Olympic Games, Phelps won his second straight Pan Pacs gold in the 100m fly in 51.29. Clary touched in 1:54.91 to win the 200m back and claim his third medal of the meet.
Winning individual silver for Team USA on Saturday were Ryan Lochte (Daytona Beach, Fla.) in the 100m fly (51.67) and Cierra Runge (Cochranville, Pa.) in the 400m free (4:04.55).
The U.S. finished the night off with a pair of silvers in the women’s and men’s 400m free relay. The women’s team of Simone Manuel (Sugar Land, Texas), Missy Franklin (Centennial, Colo.), Abbey Weitzeil (Saugus, Calif.) and Shannon Vreeland(Overland Park, Kan.) finished about two seconds behind Australia in 3:34.23. The men’s team of Phelps, Nathan Adrian(Bremerton, Wash.), Anthony Ervin (Valencia, Calif.) and Lochte came out on the short end of a close race, touching about a half second behind Australia in 3:13.36.
Bronze medalists for Team USA included Kendyl Stewart (Carlsbad, Calif.) in the 100m fly (57.82), Connor Jaeger (Fair Haven, N.J.) in the 400m free (3:45.31) and Elizabeth Beisel (Saunderstown, R.I.) in the 200m back (2:08.33).
Through three nights of competition, Team USA has collected 30 medals – 11 gold, eight silver and 11 bronze. The Americans lead all nations in both gold medals and total medal count.
Featuring the U.S., Australia, Canada, Japan and 14 other Pan Pacific nations, the four-day pool competition runs through Sunday, while the 10-kilometer open water event follows Monday at the Southport Marine Stadium.
Prelim sessions begin at 10 a.m. locally (8 p.m. EDT the previous day), with finals set for 7 p.m. locally (5 a.m. EDT). Complete meet details, including full results, can be found here.
In the U.S., NBC will air two programs from the meet this weekend – Saturday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. EDT and Sunday from 1-2:30 p.m. Todd Harris, Rowdy Gaines and Alex Flanagan will have the call.
Ledecky’s win the women’s 400m freestyle was never in doubt. She dove in and took the lead from the start, leaving the rest of the field racing for second. The only question was whether or not she would break the world record of 3:58.86 she set two weeks ago in Irvine, California.
She was ahead of world-record pace at the first 50, but fell off for the rest of the race until the final 50 meters. With the crowd cheering her on, she hammered her way home, touching the wall about a half second ahead of the former mark.
Runge was second, followed by New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle in 4:05.33. It was Ledecky’s fourth win of the meet after taking gold the 200m free, 800m free and 800m free relay.
“I knew based on my swim from Nationals that my fifth, sixth and seventh 50s had to be a lot better, because I think I fell off the world-record place at Nationals on the seventh 50 and split a little slower,” Ledecky said. “So I knew if I could just work those and have a good, solid first 200 that it would be a good swim.”
In the men’s 100m fly, Phelps was sixth at the turn, but in typical fashion turned in a solid back half, surging ahead of the pack in the final 20 meters. He touched 38-hundredths of a second ahead of Lochte. Japan’s Hirofumi Ikebata was third in 52.50.
“It feels good to be back up there individually,” said Phelps, who also won gold as a member of the 800m free relay team Friday. “It’s been a struggle coming back, and I think it’s good for the confidence, being able to show that I can swim faster at night.
“It definitely feels good to see that ‘1’ by your name and not second – or losing by this, or losing by that. I think I’ll be able to sleep a little easier.”
Like Phelps, Clary also had a solid finish to win the men’s 200m back. In fourth place at the 150-meter mark, Clary inched his way up the side of leader Ryosuke Irie to take the lead in the final few strokes of the race. Irie, of Japan, took silver in 1:55.14, while Australia’s Larkin Mitchell took bronze in 1:55.27. Ryan Murphy (Jacksonville, Fla.) was fourth in 1:55.27.
“I wanted to see what the field was going to do, and just hang with them and let them dictate the pace of the race, because I knew with how this summer’s been going that the last leg of every one of my races has been pretty good,” Clary said. “I wanted to lean on that a little bit tonight, and by pacing put myself in a position to use that opportunity.”
Other Americans competing in the “A” finals Saturday were Claire Donahue (Lenoir City, Tenn.), who finished sixth in the women’s 100m butterfly in 58.31; Michael McBroom (The Woodlands, Texas), who finished eighth in the men’s 800m free in 3:52.77; and Franklin, who finished fourth in the women’s 200m back in 2:08.82.
The Pan Pacific Swimming Championships are held under the oversight of the Pan Pacific Swimming Association. The Association was established in the mid-1980s and is made up of the four founding swimming federations – Swimming Australia, Swimming Canada, the Japan Amateur Swimming Federation and USA Swimming. These charter nations developed the concept of the swimming competition to provide their national teams with first-class international competition between the two major international swimming competitions – the Olympic Games and the FINA World Championships.
Note: USA Swimming’s media guide for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships can be accessed here.