Katie Ledecky competes in the finals of the women's 500 yd freestyle event during the 2013 AT&T Swimming Winter National Championships on Dec. 5, 2013 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Many of the top American swimmers are in Santa Clara, California, this weekend for the final Arena Grand Prix series event of the season, and they drew much of the swimming spotlight to the West Coast.
But one Olympic champion, Katie Ledecky, is in Texas instead, and the spotlight found her.
That’s what happens when you set a world record.
Ledecky, 17, broke her own world record in the 1,500-meter freestyle event by two seconds at the Woodlands Swim Team Senior Invitational Meet in Shenandoah, Texas, Thursday.
“I wasn’t really expecting it,” Ledecky told The Washington Post. “I had that feeling where I thought I could go really fast, but I really didn’t think I was going to go anywhere close to the world record.”
Ledecky was clocked at 15 minutes 34.23 seconds, beating her previous world record of 15:36.53, which she set July 30, 2013, at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
The rising high school senior who has committed to Stanford University, is also the world-record holder in the 800, the event in which she won the Olympic gold medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Ledecky, the 2013 United States Olympic Committee’s SportsWoman of the Year, had spent nearly three weeks training in Colorado Springs, Colorado, before competing in Texas, and it appears the high-altitude sessions did just the trick.
Ledecky is gearing up for the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships Aug. 6-10 in Irvine, California, where the top swimmers will qualify for the Pan Pacific Championships Aug. 21-25 in Australia. The 2015 FINA World Championships will be in Kazan, Russia.
The 1,500 is a men’s event in the Olympic Games but is not on the women's program. The longest distance for women in the Olympic Games is the 800. She is expected to swim the 800 Sunday in Texas. Her world record in that event is 8:13.86, which she also set at the 2013 FINA World Championships.
Ledecky is entered in the 200, 400, 800, 200 individual medley, 400 IM and 100 butterfly but that demanding schedule could be trimmed.
Amy Rosewater is a freelance writer and editor for TeamUSA.org. A former sports reporter for The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, she covered her fifth Olympic Games in Sochi. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today.