Katie Ledecky is quickly putting the “distance phenom” label behind her in Indianapolis. People were stunned a year ago in London by the endurance of a 15-year-old girl able to out last seasoned veterans for Olympic gold in the 800-meter freestyle. This year at U.S. Nationals the Bethesda-native who trains with the Nation's Capital Swim Club is out to prove herself not just a great distance freestyle, but a great freestyler in any distance.
On Wednesday night Ledecky — the 2012 All Met girls' swimmer of the year — earned her second individual event on this year's world championships team headed to Barcelona in late July with a second-place finish in the women's 200 freestyle. She touched just over a second back from the sensational Missy Franklin, 18, who won the event in 1 minute 55.56 seconds.
Ledecky had already made the team on Tuesday night by winning the women's 800 freestyle. The swim also qualifies Ledecky and Franklin for the United States 4×200 freestyle relay along Shannon Vreeland and Jordan Mattern who finished third and fourth, respectively.
Also qualifying for the world championship team was Sterling-native Matt McLean. McLean finished third in the men's 200 freestlye (1:46.78), earning himself a spot on the 4×200 relay. McLean finished behind Ryan Lochte (1:45.97) and Conor Dwyer (1:46.25). At the London Olympic Games, McLean — who trains at Virginia where he was the three-time ACC swimmer of the year — won an Olympic gold as a prelim swimmer for the U.S. team in the same relay. An American win in this event would give McLean his fifth international gold medal.
Tomorrow, Ledecky and McLean will have a rare opportunity to rest on the meet's third day of competition. McLean has the 400 free to prepare for, while Ledecky has the 400 on Friday and 800 free on Saturday. But for now she can sit back, cheer on her teenaged teammates, and perhaps offer advice to those who were in her shoes a year ago as they step into the sport's limelight on the national stage.
Still looking for his first national team berth was three-time All Met boys' swimmer of the year, Jack Conger. Conger — who trains with Sue Chen at Machine Aquatic — finished fifth in the men's 200 backstroke with a 1:56.82. The time was a life-time best for the Good Counsel graduate heading to Texas in the Fall, but dropped him three spots from the seed earned in the morning prelims. Ryan Lochte won the event — his second of the night — in 1:55.16, followed by Tyler Clary in 1:55.58. Clary beat Lochte for Olympic gold last summer in London.
Perhaps building off of the momentum created by Ledecky's win on Tuesday night and second-place finish tonight. NCAP's Janet Hu, 17, finished eighth in the women's 50 fly in 27.19. Her 13-year-old teammate Cassidy Bayer finished seventh in the “B” final in 27.81. Carsten Vissering, 16, won the men's 200 breaststroke “C” final in 2:15.97. Vissering is a two-time first team All Met for Georgetown Prep. Former NCAP and Langley swimmer, Chuck Katis finished 5th in the “B” final in 2:17.40. Also out of NCAP, 14-year-old Emily Meilus finished fifth in the women's 200 backstroke “C” final in 2:15.40. Andrew Seliskar, 16, finished sixth in the men's 50 butterfly “B” final in 24.46. He was beat 2009 All Met swimmer of the year, Sean Fletcher, who finished fourth in 24.23. Fletcher trained with the Mason Makos [Edit: Fletcher did not swim for Machine] while attending Madison High School in Vienna. He finished his senior season for Michigan this year.
1. Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin each pick up two national titles on day two