With an Olympic gold medal, two world records and four world championship titles, there isn’t much left for 16-year-old Katie Ledecky to accomplish in a swimming pool. And yet, the Stone Ridge junior continues to find ways to dazzle nearly every time she steps onto a starting block.
Ledecky, the 2012-2013 All-Met Swimmer of the Year, took down two national high school records and an American record at this year’s Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swim & Dive Championship, growing the legend of the meet that has seen nine national records set in three years.
“This atmosphere is so incredible every year,” Ledecky said. “I knew I wanted to go after the record coming into the meet, and really went after it during prelims.”
During Friday’s prelims, Ledecky posted a time of 4 minutes 28.71 seconds to lay waste to the American record, set in 2008 by Katie Hoff, by nearly two seconds with no camera crews or media waiting poolside.
She missed resetting the mark during Saturday’s prelims, but added the overall national high school record in the 200 freestyle (1:42.32), eclipsing her own national independent high school record from last year’s finals by .64 seconds.
She also added a blistering 22.59-second split to earn Stone Ridge the victory in the girls’ 200 freestyle relay, and moved Stone Ridge to first among private schools in the team competition.
Churchill won the girls’ competition with 426 points. Last year’s winner, Wootton, was second with 346 points, followed by Walter Johnson (246) and Richard Montgomery (238).
Churchill won the 400 freestyle relay to seal its victory after entering the meet with a 67-point lead from its divers. Mashal Hashem won diving with 477.40 points.
Sophomore Hannah Lindsey and junior Elaina Gu added two second-place finishes apiece to help propel Churchill to the title. Lindsey finished second to Ledecky in the 200 freestyle in 1:49.42 and to Wootton’s Kristina Li in backstroke in 54.87 — a new meet record. Both times were automatic all-American cuts.
Li is a three-time winner in the 100 backstroke (54.12). She led the Patriots to a win in the girls’ 200 medley relay with a 25.63-second split in the backstroke lead-off leg. She also successfully defended her title in the girls 100 butterfly (56.01).
In the boys’ meet, Georgetown Prep took down three-time defending champion Gonzaga, 412 to 360. Richard Montgomery (280.5) was third.
“We knew this meet was going to be close,” said Coach Matt Mongelli. “Everyone expected us to win, but that made it that much harder to actually do.”
Prep won the opening relay and never looked back. They finished on top with a victory in the final three boys’ events to seal secure their crown.
Junior Carsten Vissering, a two-time All-Met, won his third straight 100 breaststroke title, setting the national independent high school record in the process with a time of 53.49. He also won the 200 IM in 1:48.10.
Teammate Grant Goddard was the Little Hoyas’ other double winner, defending his 100 butterfly title (49.01) and winning the 50 freestyle (20.94) for his fourth and fifth Metros titles. Goddard broke Jack Conger’s meet record in butterfly during morning prelims with a 48.69.
Brandon Goldstein added a win in the 100 backstroke (50.29) and led off the winning 200 medley relay.
Prep finished their night with a monstrous 3:04.83 performance in the 400 freestyle relay. Goddard, Goldstein, Vissering and Adrian Lin, one of the Little Hoyas aptly named “Fab Five,” blasted the Metros record in the event by nearly half a second. The previous record was set by Good Counsel last year with Conger leading off in a national independent high school record in the 100 freestyle, and included this year’s 100 freestyle champion Brady Welch.
Welch set the Metros record in the 100 free with a 45.00.
Gavin Springer was the other meet record breaker. He set the meet mark in the boys’ 200 freestyle with a time of 1:38.29 to edge Georgetown Prep’s Lin (1:38.72). Later, in the 500 free he held off a charging Brennan Novak of Gonzaga, who swam a brilliant final 200 yards to catch Springer, before the Sidwell Friends’ junior found a final gear in the last lap to win, 4:25.94 to 4:26.58. Blair’s Brian Tsau was third (4:27.63).