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Katie Ledecky wins by 24 seconds to end last major meet of 2023

Katie Ledecky

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - NOVEMBER 29: Katie Ledecky warms up before the Women’s 800 Meter Freestyle Final on day 1 of the Toyota US Open on November 29, 2023 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

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Katie Ledecky capped the last top-level meet of 2023 by winning the 1500m freestyle by 24.88 seconds and lapping two swimmers.

At the Toyota U.S. Open, Ledecky clocked 15:46.38 in an event she hasn’t lost in 13 years. Fellow Tokyo Olympian Paige Madden took second in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Ledecky finished the U.S. Open by extending 13-year win streaks in the 800m and 1500m frees, placing second in the 400m free to Canadian Summer McIntosh and in the 200m free to Siobhán Haughey of Hong Kong.

She goes into the Olympic year an overwhelming favorite in the 800m and 1500m and a medal contender in the 400m. She hasn’t announced publicly whether she wants to swim the 200m at the Olympics. After finishing fifth in Tokyo, she dropped that event from her program at the world championships in 2022 and 2023 but still swam the 4x200m free relays.

U.S. OPEN: Full Results

With three golds in Paris, she would move into solo second place in history with 10 Olympic titles behind Michael Phelps’ 23.

Also Saturday, Olympic champion Bobby Finke used his trademark late surge to overtake Charlie Clark in the men’s 1500m by 1.6 seconds. On the first day of the meet, Clark became the first American to win an 800m over Finke in four years.

World silver medalist Regan Smith took the 200m backstroke by 2.12 seconds over Claire Curzan. Smith is the fastest American in 2023 by 1.5 seconds. She and Australian Kaylee McKeown, the Olympic and world champion and world record holder, combined for the world’s top nine times this year.

Smith then won the 200m butterfly by 2.59 seconds over Lindsay Looney and 3.45 over Dakota Luther in a copy of the podium from June’s nationals. Smith is the world bronze medalist in that event and the fastest American this year by a second.

World champion Hubert Kos of Hungary took the men’s 200m back. American Ryan Murphy, the world silver medalist, swam at the U.S. Open but did not contest this event.

Haughey won the 100m free, where she’s the Olympic and world silver medalist. She prevailed by 23 hundredths over Torri Huske, who was followed by Abbey Weitzeil, Simone Manuel and Gretchen Walsh, all contenders for the two U.S. Olympic spots come June’s trials.

Matt King won the men’s 100m free by six hundredths over Ryan Held and 21 hundredths over Chris Giuliano. King was third at June’s nationals behind Jack Alexy, who wasn’t at the U.S. Open, and Giuliano. Olympic champion Caeleb Dressel was second in the B final in 48.85, his best time since June 2022 as he continues to ramp up after a months-long break from the sport.

Kate Douglass distanced Lilly King by 2.11 seconds in the 200m breaststroke. King is the fastest American this year, but Douglass was the one who won a medal at worlds (silver). They combine to own the nation’s top 14 times this year and are big favorites to claim the two Olympic spots at trials.

World bronze medalist Matt Fallon took the men’s 200m breast by 35 hundredths over Cody Miller. Fallon is the fastest American this year by 52 hundredths.

The next top-level meet is a Tyr Pro Swim Series stop in Knoxville, Tennessee, from Jan. 10-13.