Katie Ledecky Breaks Records

Earlier today, Olympian Katie Ledecky won two events and set two meet records on the first night of the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.  The 17 year-old girl opened the night with a win in the women’s 200m freestyle when she turned in with a time of 1:55.74.  Later in the session, she returned to the pool to take the 800m free in 8:11.35.  This was Ledecky’s first big international double, and she wanted to see how she could handle it.  According to Ledecky, she couldn’t be happier with how she did.  She wasn’t sure if she’d do well in the 800, but she was proven wrong, and ended up doing great.

Katie Ledecky

Katie Ledecky, shown with one of her shiny new gold medals.

Ledecky’s swims made up two of the 10 medals won by the US on Thursday.  Other people winning gold for the US included Cammile Adams in the Women’s 200m butterfly (2:06.61) and Connor Jaeger in the men’s 1500m freestyle (14:51.79).  Overall, the US won four gold, one silver and five bronze medals.  Other winners for the US team included Matt Grevers with a silver in the men’s 100m backstroke, Missy Franklin with a bronze in the women’s 100m backstroke (1:00.60), Ryan Murphy with a bronze in the men’s 100m backstroke (53.27), Tyler Clary with a bronze in the men’s 200m butterfly (1:55.42), Katie McLaughlin with a bronze in the women’s 200m butterfly (2:07.08) and Shannon Vreeland with a bronze in the women’s 200m free (1:57.38).

Looking at Ledecky’s races, she led the field at each of the turns in the women’s 200m freestyle.  This allowed her to increase her distance over the rest of the swimmers with each length of the pool.  Ultimately, she won by a body-length over Australian runner-up Bronte Barratt, who touched in at 1:57.22.  Vreeland herself finished just 16-hundredths behind Barratt.  Ledecky claims to be looking forward to the rest of the meet; her wins so far have been able to build her confidence, and she’s excited to see how she does going forward.  Ledecky owned the 800m free, leading from start to finish, and for most of the race she was ahead of her own world record pace.  She ultimately missed it by 35-hundredths of a second, but beat the former meet record of 8:16.22, which the legendary Janet Evans set back in 1989.  Following behind Ledecky was Lauren Boyle of New Zealand in 8:18.87, followed by Brittany MacLean of Canada in 8:20.02.

Getting close to the world records is pretty great, and Ledecky thinks that she’ll be able to improve on what she’s done so far this year.  Adams came from behind in the final 50 meters of the women’s 200m butterfly to win in the last stroke, edging Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi by seven-hundredths.  McLaughlin, who is competing for her first time in a major international competition, finished about six-tenths of a second behind to earn the bronze.  Also emerging victorious out of a close race was Jaeger, after beating out Canadian Ryan Cochrane for the win the men’s 1500m free.  Jaeger’s victory margin was 18-hundredths of a second over Cochrane, who touched in at 14:51.97.  Right behind him was Horton Mack of Australia, who touched at 14:52.78.

Other Americans who swam in the finals include Conor Dwyer, who finished fourth in the men’s 200m free in 1:46.46, Ryan Lochte, who finished fifth in the men’s 200m free in 1:46.75 and Elizabeth Pelton, who finished seventh in the women’s 100m back in 1:01.37.  The women’s 800m free and men’s 1500m free were both timed finals.  In the 800m free, Becca Mann finished fourth in 8:22.45, Cierra Runge was fifth in 8:25.17, Haley Anderson was seventh in 8:30.87 and Leah Smith placed ninth in 8:32.38.  In the men’s 1500, Michael McBroom placed fifth with 14:57.15, Jordan Wilimovsky was seventh in 15:01.43, Sean Ryan was eighth with 15:03.82 while Andrew Gemmel was ninth in 15:11.92.  Tonight, Americans swimming in the “B” finals included Matt McLean in the men’s 200m free (9th, 1:47.16), Missy Franklin in the women’s 200m free (9th, 1:56.04), Kathleen Baker in the women’s 100m back (9th, 1:00.35), Maya DiRado in the women’s 200m fly (9th, 2:07.42), David Plummer in the men’s 100m back (9th, 53.19) and Caitlin Leverenz in the women’s 200m fly (12th, 2:11.64).

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