W400m Free: Easy Gold For Katie Ledecky, But Scorching Early Pace Says No World Record

A word with the water: Katie Ledecky at one with her sport, by Patrick B. Kraemer

Katie Ledecky went after her world record in the 400 freestyle, but a scorching early pace proved costly over the last few laps as the American won easily, but missed her global standard.

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Katie Ledecky went after her world record in the 400 freestyle, but a scorching early pace proved costly over the last few laps as the American won easily, but missed her global standard.



As expected, Ms. Ledecky was dominant. But a great result for Ms. Ashwood. At the end she seemed almost catching up with Ms. Rouwendaal. Let’s hope it’s the start of Australia’s reinvention in these championships!


Rouwendhaal is the first dutchwoman to win 400 free world championship medal.
The last dutchwoman to win 400 free olympics medal is Kirsten Vlieghuis in 1996 Atlanta (bronze)


Ledecky is an absolute beast. She makes a world class field look like school kids, which they absolutely are not!

Fantastic by Rouwendhaal to medal in open water 10k and 400 free. What versatility.

Also a great swim by Ashwood. An Australian record I believe.


What a disappointment. She only broke one more time high-tech unreachable Pelligrini’s record 🙂
Her fast half distance and sudden drop in speed and technique on the way in give some hint that she most likely is not at her best form, but is definitely for 200m competition. The sharp drop after fast start suggests that the problem of getting in the rhythm still exists and we will not see world record at 800.
The day 1 gave some answers where major contenders for 200 free are standing. Franklin with her 53.68 is almost as good as she was in Barcelona (53.47). She maintained speed on the way back with good 27.68 (BCN -27.57). So I would expect her to be at 1:55 flat at 200m. Heemskerk showed 51.99 (RT- 0.14) with a good second half (27.64). So she didn’t lose anything since April. Under 1:55 is still needed to win 200.


Katie has had trouble pacing for some time now, was hoping she got over that. I guess she is going to have to learn the hard way. Still a solid win and very respectable time; congrats to her!


Ledecky has a chronic problem all other swimmers would love to have, she only knows how to swim in one speed: fast all the way.
In a rare admission after the prelims to explain her race, she even said Bruce Gemmel kept telling her to go easy with her first 200.


Only swimming fast, or one speed, is a problem no swimmer should have; too much lactic acid too early and you are in trouble. Much better to negative split 400 and up. That stuff was ok three years ago when Katie was a rookie but not now.

Not to come down too hard on her tho, still put up a great time and got the “W”


I would not call 2:02 shown on the way back as very fast time. Ashwood swam last hundred at the same speed as champion. As I mentioned multiple times all her 5 under 4 min races was done with different strategies(fast start, negative splits, camel like etc.) having world record race the most balanced. I think she didn’t targeted particularly the WR in this race. Her plan was to blow up the field from the very beginning and get safely the gold medal. If it happens to be a WR as side effect of this plan then she wouldn’t definitely mind. Maybe some other race at the end of the year. Very, very feasible.

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