History of U.S. women to swim 100m through 800m freestyles at Olympic trials
If Katie Ledecky adds the 100m freestyle to her schedule at the Olympic trials next summer in Omaha, Neb., she will join a select group of women to swim the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles in trials history.
One U.S. woman have contested those four events at a single Olympics -- Shirley Babashoff in 1976.
The 800m freestyle was not introduced for women until the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. At that year’s trials, five women swam each freestyle event (the 50m free wasn’t added until 1988): Eadie Wetzel, Linda Gustavson, Anne Fraser, Pamela Kruse and Debbie Meyer.
Meyer, then 16, made the Olympic team in all but the 100m free and, in Mexico City, became the first swimmer to win three gold medals in individual events in one Olympics. She swept the 200m, 400m and 800m frees in Olympic-record times.
In 1972, nine more women swam the four frees at trials: Ann Simmons, Jenny Hicks, Keena Rothhammer, Jennifer Wylie, Heather Greenwood, Nancy Spitz, Kim Peyton, Sandra Johnson and Babashoff.
At the Munich 1972 Olympics, Australian Shane Gould became the first woman to earn medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles (plus the 200m individual medley).
The 1976 trials saw Babashoff, Jennifer Hooker and Kathy Heddy swim the four freestyles. Babashoff won all four events and then took silver in the 200m, 400m and 800m frees and fifth in the 100m free at the Montreal Games.
Even though the U.S. later boycotted the Moscow 1980 Olympics, a swimming trials took place. There, six women swam the four freestyles: Cynthia Woodhead, Marybeth Linzmeier, Lynda White, Julie Schulte, and Linda Irish and Hooker. Linzmeier, Irish and Hooker also raced the 1500m at trials, despite it not being included in the Olympic program.
At those heavily boycotted 1980 Olympics, East German Ines Diers joined Gould as the only women to earn medals in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m frees at one Games.
In 1984, Juliane Brossman and Mary Wayte contested all the freestyles at trials.
In the five Olympic trials from 1988 through 2004, only Lisa Jacob (1992) competed in the four freestyles. She did not place in the top two in any event to punch a ticket to Barcelona.
Katie Hoff, Caroline Buckle, Chelsea Nauta, Jessica Rodriquez and Andie Taylor each competed in the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles at the 2008 trials. Only Hoff made the Olympic team individually. She won the 200m, 400m and 800m frees at trials and was 11th in the 100m free.
Lindsay Gendron and Jamie Bohunicky swam the four races at trials in 2012. Neither qualified for the London Games.
*Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated no U.S. woman has swum the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles at one Olympics.