Who can rival Katie Ledecky? - WSMV News 4

Who can rival Katie Ledecky?

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Katie Ledecky won gold in the 800m freestyle at the 2012 Olympics as the youngest member on the entire U.S. delegation. She returns to the Olympic stage in Rio as (still) the youngest woman on the swim team, but with newfound, unparalleled freestyle dominance under her belt. Ledecky will race the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyles in Rio and enters the Games as the reigning world champion in all three.

She has the potential of adding in some relays, too, at the coaches’ discretion. She raced to seventh in the 100m freestyle at U.S. Olympic Trials in June, so she could participate in the 4x100m freestyle if needed. She also anchored the gold medal-winning 4x200m freestyle relay at the 2015 World Championships.

Let’s examine where Ledecky stands in each individual event as she looks to possibly become just the third U.S. woman to win four gold medals in a single Games.

200m freestyle

Ledecky’s Olympic history in the event: Ledecky did not race this event in London. U.S. teammate Allison Schmitt won gold with a time of one minute, 53.61 seconds. Schmitt will not race the individual 200m freestyle in Rio; instead she was surpassed at Trials by Ledecky and 2013 world champion Missy Franklin for the individual berths. Franklin was fourth in London in the 200m freestyle and missed the podium by 0.01.  

2015 World Championships: Ledecky won the 200m freestyle at the 2015 World Championships in 1:55.16.

World record: Federica Pellegrini, 1:52.98, set at the 2009 World Championships

2016 top times: Ledecky leads the field with the fastest time in the world for 2016, a 1:54.43 she posted at the Arena Pro Swim series stop in Austin, Texas in January. Pellegrini posted 1:54.55 at a competition in Rome in June, and Australia’s Emma McKeon rounds out the top three with 1:54.83. Sarah Sjostrom, 100m butterfly world record holder, sits in fourth this year with 1:54.87. Sjostrom didn’t race the final of the 200m freestyle at Worlds in 2015, but her time from the lead-off leg in the 4x200m freestyle relay (1:54.31) would’ve beaten Ledecky in the 200m freestyle final.

400m freestyle

Ledecky’s Olympic history in the event: Ledecky did not race this event in London, and she won’t be facing the defending Olympic champion in the event: Camille Muffat of France tragically died in a helicopter crash in 2015.

2015 World Championships: Ledecky won the event at Worlds in 2015 with a time of 3:59.13.

World record: Ledecky, 3:58.37, set at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships

2016 top times: Ledecky’s time at U.S. Trials (3:58.98) is the fastest this year, the only woman under the four-minute barrier. She’s followed closely by U.S. teammate, Leah Smith, who posted 4:00.65 at Trials and expressed excitement because she could finally see Ledecky’s feet at the end of a race. Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas (4:03.47) and Katinka Hosszu (4:04.96) are inside the top 10 this year too, at third and eighth, respectively; however, Hosszu is not expected to race the 400m freestyle in Rio.

800m freestyle

Ledecky’s Olympic history in the event: Ledecky claimed a surprise gold in the event in 2012 with a time of 8:14.63, which set a new American record at the time. Her nearest competitor, Mireia Belmonte of Spain, clocked 8:18.76 and Great Britain’s Rebecca Adlington – the heavy favorite in front of a home crowd – rounded out the podium at 8:20.32.

2015 World Championships: Ledecky’s winning time at the 2015 World Championships was 8:07.39, setting a new world record by three and a half seconds. Next into the wall was New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle, 10.26 seconds back, followed by Great Britain’s Jazz Carlin at 8:18.15.

World record: Ledecky, 8:06.68, set at the Arena Pro Series stop in Austin, Texas in January 2016

2016 top times: Ledecky is more than 10 seconds fastest than anyone else so far this year and lowered the world record to 8:06.68 at a January competition. Australia’s Jessica Ashwood comes the next closest at 8:18.14, followed by U.S. teammate Leah Smith at 8:20.18 set at U.S. Trials.

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