Katie Ledecky's U.S. record in the preliminaries of the 400-meter freestyle Saturday was just the beginning. The high school senior, who has given Stanford her verbal commitment, came back to set a world record in the championship final at the William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Center in Irvine.
Ledecky went 3:58.86 to surpass the previous mark by a half-second. She owned the American record entering the day and then proceeded to set the U.S. and championship record with her 3:59.89 in the prelims.
"I had to make sure not to rush the first 100," she said. "I was just kicking as hard as I could and pulling as hard as I could to get to the wall. It's pretty close to being a perfect race."
In the finals, she surpassed Italy's Federica Pellegrini's world mark of 3:59.15, set in July of 2009. Katie Hoff held the former championship mark (4:02.32) since June 30, 2008.
"How do you put a world record in perspective?" U.S. National Team Director Frank Busch asked rhetorically. "I guess you just call it the best anybody has ever done. The people in the stands had a treat."
Ledecky, an Olympic gold medalist, also holds the world record in the 1,500-meter free and the 800-meter free. She bettered her own marks in those events during a meet in Texas two months ago.
"When I think of Katie's progress from meets to camps and meets again, she seems to swim at the highest level at the highest competitions," said Busch, a former long-time coach at Arizona. "I'm excited to see what she does in Australia (for the world championships)."
Ledecky said she was not going to swim competitively on Sunday so she could return to training.
PASA's Jenna Campbell swam the 18th-fastest qualifying time in the 400 free prelims, finishing in 4:14.16.
Stanford's Katie Olsen finished second the 'B' final of the 100-meter breaststroke, going 1:08.80, while Stanford's Sarah Haase was seventh, in 1:09.92.
Stanford grad Eugene Godsoe finished seventh in the 100 back, swimming a 54.66.
Incoming Stanford freshman Liam Egan went 3:53.51 in the 'B' final of the men's 400-meter freestyle. It was good for 15th overall.
This story contains 381 words.
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