After obliterating her own 1,500-meter freestyle world record in Wednesday night’s timed final heats at the TYR Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis – her first meet as a professional and her first world record in 21 months – Katie Ledecky had to do something for an encore.
As the top seed in the 400 freestyle, she blew away the field by nearly 10 seconds, finishing with a time of 3:57.94. That wasn’t enough to beat her own world record, set at the Olympic Games Rio 2016, but it did break her U.S. Open record and was the second-fastest ever. Ledecky now owns the 10 fastest times in history.
But she wasn’t the only decorated Olympian to dazzle in the first full finals session of the meet. Five-time gold medalist Nathan Adrian put to rest any thoughts of his 100 free Pro Swim Series unbeaten streak being in trouble with a strong performance, finishing in a time of 48.69. Adrian looks as good as ever with a potential fourth Olympic appearance drawing closer.
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2016 Olympic medley champion Kelsi (Worrell) Dahlia got the evening started with a win in the women’s 100 butterfly, then fellow relay gold medalist Gunnar Bentz took first in the men’s event. In the men’s 400 free, it was Zane Grothe just edging out Egyptian Olympian Marwan El Kamash by just over a tenth.
Melanie Margalis, also a relay gold medalist from Rio, won the women’s 200 breaststroke in a very close three-way race, catching Emily Escobedo in the last moment to win by less than a tenth of a second. Daniel Roy held off a charging Chase Kalisz in the men’s race, winning in 2:09.73.
Then in the women’s 400 free, two-time gold medalist Simone Manuel came up just short to Taylor Ruck of Canada. Manuel could not close on Ruck’s lead that she established early in the race.
The action continues tomorrow from the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, which will be carried live on The Olympic Channel starting at 7 p.m. EDT. Then the finals conclude on Saturday on NBCSN, again starting at 7 p.m.
Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.