Leah Smith Qualifies for Olympic Games in 400m Freestyle
June 27, 2016
OMAHA, Neb.-Virginia rising senior Leah Smith finished second in the women’s 400-meter freestyle at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials at CenturyLink Center Monday night (June 27) in Omaha, Neb.
By way of her second-place finish in the 400m free, Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) qualifies for Team USA at 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is fully expected to be selected when USA Swimming announces the full team following the conclusion of the meet.
Smith finished in a time of 4:00.65, a time that ranks second in the world this year. Smith is now the fourth-fastest all-time performer in the event. Katie Ledecky, the world record holder, finished first in 3:58.98. Earlier in the day, Smith won her heat and placed second overall in the prelims in 4:03.14. Smith’s previous-best time before Monday was 4:03.33, set at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis in early June.
“We are so proud of Leah,” UVA assistant coach Cory Chitwood said. “She has worked for that swim every day she has showed up to the pool. On to Rio, but first let’s have some more fast swims in the 200m and 800m free!”
Smith is a four-time NCAA Champion, winning the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyle events in both 2015 and 2016. She is an 11-time All-American and 10-time ACC Champion. Smith represented the U.S. at the 2015 FINA World Championships and the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, winning gold with the 4x200m free relay. Smith also won gold in the event, as well as the 400m free at the 2015 World University Games.
Virginia has had a swimmer at each Olympiad since the 1996 Atlanta Games.
The Olympic Team Trials continue through Sunday (July 3).