Ledecky wraps up Pro Swim stop with 1500m free win

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Katie Ledecky won the 1500m freestyle at the Mission Viejo Pro Swim Series Sunday in a world-leading time of 15min 40.55sec, then demonstrated her range with a 100m freestyle runner-up finish.

The US freestyle great, who is aiming to add the first women's 1500m Olympic gold to her resume when the event joins the program at the Tokyo Games, dominated in her third victory in three days with Ashley Twichell second in 16:06.68 and Emma Nordin third in 16:11.23.

She improved on her own previous season-leading time of 15:42.92 set in San Antonio last month.

"I think I swam it pretty well," Ledecky said. "I felt like I was strong throughout. It never feels good at the end."

Nevertheless, Ledecky came back not long after and delivered a storming second lap to finish second in the 100m freestyle won by Abbey Weitzel in 53.68sec. Ledecky clocked 54.22 and Olivia Smoliga was third in 54.61.

Ledecky had already won the 200m free and 400m free in Mission Viejo, posting a 3:59.25 in the 400 on Saturday -- her fastest performance since 2018.

"It all feels like we're really gearing up in a good way," Ledecky said with the US Olympic trials approaching in June.

Nathan Adrian, the 2012 Olympic 100m freestyle gold medallist, won the men's 100m free in 48.74 ahead of Germany's Eric Friese (49.05) and Singapore's Quah Zheng Wen (49.30).

Adrian claimed his first Pro Swim Series win since treatment for testicular cancer in 2019.

He earned Pan American Games silver in the 50m and 100m free that year, and is aiming now at making a fourth Olympic team.

The field for the morning final -- under a schedule mimicking the Tokyo morning finals program -- was missing top qualifier Caeleb Dressel, who opted out of the freestyle and the 200m individual medley finals.

World record-holder Ryan Lochte also scratched the 200m medley final after posting the third-quickest qualifying time.

"Happy with popping a 48," Adrian said. "A lot of people left already, the atmosphere wasn't quite as electric as it has been the last couple of days without those guys here. But I'm happy to win, sure."

In the absence of Dressel and Lochte, top qualifier Michael Andrew won the 200m medley in 1:57.98. Madisyn Cox won the women's IM in 2:10.00.

Rhyan White won the women's 200m backstroke in 2:07.24, third-fastest time in the world this year.

Ryan Murphy, reigning Olympic gold medallist in the men's 100m and 200m backstroke, completed a backstroke double with a 200m victory in 1:56.27.