Olympians Katie Ledecky, Bobby Finke Win On Day One Of Toyota U.S. Open; SOFLO’s Horrego, Mora Race Thursday

By Sharon Robb
GREENSBORO, N.C., Decembe1, 2021–Olympians and training mates Katie Ledecky and Bobby Finke, competing in their first long course meet since the Toyko Olympics, won their opening 800-meter freestyle events at the Toyota U.S. Open Championships Wednesday at Greensboro Aquatic Center.

Ledecky, 24, swimming unattached for Florida, won in 8:12.81, breaking her own U.S. Open meet record. Her previous record was 8:14.59 set in 2019. It was the 18th fastest time in history and one of her 24 all-time leading marks. Leah Smith, 26, of Texas Longhorns was second in 8:23.78.

While the women’s race was fun to watch Ledecky distance herself from the field early in the race, only 1/100th of a second separated Finke and Ohio State’s Charlie Clark at the bell lap.

In the final 50, Finke, 22, of University of Florida, turned on his notorius closing speed and split a 27.20 to win in 7:54.07. Clark, 19, was second in a best time 7:54.40, dropping 4.10.

Other notables and local swimmers in the race were:

Blair Stoneburg, 17, of Treasure Coast Aquatics was 11th in 8:49.51.

University of Florida’s Kathleen Golding, 21, of SOFLO was 12th in a best time 8:51.92, dropping nearly a minute from her entry time of 9:50.11.

South Florida Aquatic Club swimmers will see action on Thursday. Honduran Olympian Julio Horrego will swim the 200-meter individual medley and state high school champion Juan Mora will race the 50-meter freestyle.

The meet is being live streamed at usaswimming.org. Results can be found on Meet Mobile.

800-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, Unattached-Florida, 8:12.81, U.S. Open meet record, 2. Leah Smith, Texas 8:23.78, 3. Sierra Schmidt, Scottsdale Aquatic Club 8:34.80; Florida Gold Coast: 11. Blair Stoneburg, Treasure Coast 8:49.51, 12. Kathleen Golding, Florida 8:51.92, time drop 58.19.

800-meter freestyle: 1. Bobby Finke, Florida 7:54.07, 2. Charlie Clark, Ohio State 7:54.40, 3. Tommy-Lee Camblong, Unattached-Arizone 8:01.33.

Sharon Robb can be reached at sha11cats@aol.com