At the Potomac Valley Senior Short Course Senior Championships in March, Curl-Burke’s Katie Ledecky, then-12-years-old, opened some eyes in her first races against older competition. She broke PVS records in the 11-12 age group in the 200 freestyle, 100 freestyle, 500 freestyle, 1650 freestyle and 400 individual medley.
This past weekend, the now-13-year-old did more of the same at the PVS Long Course Senior Championships held at the University of Maryland – this time with some expectations.
On Saturday Ledecky, who will start eighth grade in the fall, won the women’s 400-meter freestyle in 4:25.35 in an event that featured no other girl under the age of 15 in the top 14. The PVS LC Senior Championships is an open meet, with no age restriction.
Friday she took second in the 1500 freestyle (17:05.36), fifth in the 400 individual medley (5:13.07), and 12th in the 200 freestyle (2:09.92). On Sunday she finished third in the 800 freestyle (9:15.89).
In those five events, no other 13-year-old finished as high.
“They’re really great swimmers and it’s fun racing the older kids,” said Ledecky. “But at the end of the day I only have control over one person – myself.
She was also on three top-two relay teams. On Friday she was the anchor on the 800 freestyle relay team that finished second (8:41.03) along with fellow 13-year-old Brittany Creasy and 14-year-olds Taylor Vincent and Janet Hu. Saturday, she was the third leg on the second-fastest 400 medley relay team (4:30.99) with Hu, Vincent and 13-year-old Brooke Malone. She was also the anchor on the victorious women’s 400 freestyle relay on Sunday along with fellow 13-year-old Sofia Revilak, and Hu and Vincent.
Ledecky, who began swimming at Curl-Burke in a summer league with her older brother when she was six, holds the third fastest U.S. time in the 400-meter freestyle this year (4:24.60) for 14-and-under swimmers. She set the mark at the Potomac Valley Maryland State Long Course Championships in June and her coach at Curl-Burke, Yuri Suguiyama, said she is ranked in the top three in two other events this summer as well.
“It’s kind of hard to predict right now,” said Suguiyama when asked what Ledecky would specialize in down the road. “As a 14-and-under swimmer it’s kind of my job to make sure that I keep a lot of doors open for her as she moves forward. But if I were to guess, I think Katie’s going to be a really successful middle-distance and distance freestyler and IMer.”
Ledecky set two Potomac Valley Swimming records when she was 10 and since then as taken on a full practice schedule that has helped produce her recent success against older competition.
“What separates Katie from her peers is her great work ethic, her focus and her ability to race with a fury,” Suguiyama said. “She’s a really talented racer and she’s someone I think can really go far in this sport.”
Conger continues to impress
RMSC’s Jack Conger has been making a name for himself for the last couple years and the 15-year-old continued to impress over the weekend. The 6-foot-5 Conger finished second in the 200 butterfly (2:09.39) and had the fastest time (58.03) of the day in the 100 backstroke but because of his preliminary time, which qualified him for the B final, he couldn’t finish higher than ninth. Conger said he slipped off the block at the start of his preliminary heat, which slowed him down. He was the youngest swimmer in the top 15 in each event.
Conger also finished sixth in the 50 freestyle (24.47) and 11th in the 200 freestyle (1:58.59).
For complete meet results, click here.