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Katie Ledecky loses 400-meter freestyle in U.S. for first time in 11 years

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Katie Ledecky competes in the 400-meter freestyle final at the U.S. Open on Nov. 30 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

For the first time in 11 years, Katie Ledecky lost a 400-meter freestyle race in a U.S. pool, with Canadian teenager Summer McIntosh taking the title at the U.S. Open on Thursday.

At just 17 years old, McIntosh is no stranger to the international swimming circuit. She even held the world record in the 400 free for three months – before Australia’s Ariarne Titmus took back the crown.

In July, McIntosh entered the world championship as the record holder but placed fourth in the event, while Titmus took the world title and the world record.

“After that race, I learned a lot about how to get back out after it,” McIntosh said Thursday. “I had so many races after that that I was really happy with. No matter how bad one race is, you really get back up and get back into it.”

At the U.S. Open final, she swam a time of 3:59.42, beating Ledecky by 2.96 seconds.

It’s the first time that Ledecky has lost the event in the United States since placing third at the 2012 Olympic trials at 15 years old.

The 2024 Olympics are looming, and McIntosh’s rise has made what seemed to be a two-person race between Titmus and Ledecky much more intriguing. Last March, McIntosh snapped Ledecky’s nine-year domestic win streak in the 200 free.

Ledecky remains undefeated in the United States in the 800 and 1500 free races, and she has been for 13 years.