Stanford's Ledecky helps women earn swimming title at Ohio State


Some record-setting performances led Stanford women's swimming to a first-place finish at the Ohio State Invitational over the weekend in Columbus.

Freshman Katie Ledecky set three NCAA records and a pair of American records in the Fall finale for the Cardinal. The Bethesda, Md., native set the tone for Stanford with an NCAA record-setting swim in the first race of the meet.

Katie Ledecky
On Friday morning, Ledecky finished the 500-yard freestyle faster than any collegian in history with a time of 4:27.54. That record stood until later that night when she broke her own American record in the event with a finish of 4:26.46 in the final.

On Sunday, Ledecky broke the NCAA record in the 1,650 free by 21 seconds and her American record by 10 seconds. In that same race, her 1,000 split time of 9:08.99 topped the NCAA mark she had set in the 1,000 free at Avery Aquatic Center on Nov. 12. Ledecky's time of 15:03.92 was more than a minute faster than second place.

The rest of the Cardinal followed suit -- including in each of those races. A pair of freshmen Megan Byrnes (4:41.25) and Katie Drabot (4:42.46) posted impressive third and fourth-place finishes, respectively, in the 500, while Byrnes (16:05.50) and Leah Smith (16:09.69) were third and fourth with NCAA B qualifying times in the 1,650.

Sophomore Ella Eastin swept the individual medleys with a pair of meet records, and added another victory in the 200 butterfly. She set the invitational's new standard in the 200 IM at 1:54.06 on Friday, and followed with a winning time of 4:00.36 in the 400 IM on Saturday. She edged Ledecky in the 400 by 31-tenths of a second as both swimmers earned A qualifying times for the NCAA Championships. Freshman Allie Szekely was third in the event with a B standard qualifier of 4:05.63. In the 200 fly, Eastin won with a time of 1:52.62, while Lindsey Engel was third at 1:57.89.

Junior Janet Hu followed with a meet record and A qualifying time in the 100 butterfly. She finished in 51.05, while classmate Lindsey Engel was third at 52.93. Hu was edged by another junior, Ally Howe, in the 100 backstroke as the duo finished with A qualifying times -- Howe won with a finish of 50.91 and Hu stopped the clock at 51.01.

Hu, however, would get her second win of the meet in the 200 backstroke. She bested the field with a time of 1:50.69.

Stanford showed its depth in the freestyle sprints as well. The Cardinal claimed the top five spots in the preliminaries and finals of the 200 free. Simone Manuel (1:41.90), Ledecky (1:42.16), Drabot (1:44.93), Lia Neal (1:45.16) and Nicole Stafford(1:45.26) were the first to finish among the 10 swimmers in the A final and 94 swimmers overall. Meanwhile, Manuel (47.27), Neal (47.70) and Drabot (49.03) were first, second and fourth in the 100 free.

Stanford's divers were led by returning Olympian Kassidy Cook, who was the runner-up on the 1-meter with a score of 283.90, and freshman Haley Farnsworth's third-place showing of 293.70 on the 3-meter.

Stanford also swept the relays. Neal, Manuel, Hu and Howe set a meet record in the 200 free relay (1:27.72), while Howe, Kim Williams, Hu and Manuel were tops in the 400 medley relay (3:29.63) on Friday. The following night, Howe, Heidi Poppe, Hu and Manuel won the 200 medley relay (1:36.53) and the foursome of Ledecky, Drabot, Manuel and Eastin set pool and meet records in the 800 free relay (6:55.54). In the final event of the meet, Hu, Ledecky, Manuel and Neal won the 400 free relay in 3:12.55.

Stanford totaled 1,017 team points to outpace second-place Kentucky, which finished with 615, and host Ohio State, which accumulated 517 points.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Sophomore Ella Eastin and freshman Katie Drabot are scheduled to compete in the short course FINA World Swimming Championships in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, Dec. 6-11. The rest of the Cardinal will wait to return to competition at Arizona State and Arizona on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21, respectively.

— Stanford Athletics

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