American swimmer Katie Ledecky was expected to win the Women’s 400m Freestyle at the Rio Olympics, but nobody had any idea that she would dominate her competition like she did last night.
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The 19-year-old, who is undefeated in international competition since winning the gold medal in London back in 2012, shattered her own world record by almost two full seconds and beat her competition by almost five full seconds.
That was enough time for Ledecky to be celebrating her new world record, even while all of her opponents were still swimming. Here’s an idea of just how dominant she was, with the yellow “world record pace” line barely keeping up with her feet.
During the NBC broadcast, the world record holder’s dominance was evident when she was so far in front of the competition that she was often the only Olympian on the screen.
Paul Carr of ESPN pointed out that Ledecky’s 4.77 second win is “over a second more than the margin of victory in Women’s 400m Free at the previous 6 Olympics COMBINED”.
Katie Ledecky's 4.77-second win is over a second more than the margin of victory in Women's 400m Free at the previous 6 Olympics COMBINED.
— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) August 8, 2016
Here’s Ledecky celebrating as another Olympian – one of the best swimmers in the world – is just approaching the wall.
LOL Katie Ledecky was celebrating and people hadn't finished yet pic.twitter.com/qCaDbu2kSg
— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) August 8, 2016
Ledecky’s fellow Olympian Leah Smith swam over to give her a hug and could be seen repeatedly saying “three fifty-six”, the previously unimaginable time Ledecky lowered the world record mark to. Smith seemed more excited about Katie’s world record than that she just won a bronze medal herself. What a great teammate.
What does Katie think about her dominant performance so far?
If you missed seeing the historic race, don’t fret. You have several chances to see America’s best swimmer (move over, Michael Phelps) this year. Katie is the heavy favorite to win the 800m freestyle and the 200m freestyle. She also happens to hold the world record in the 1,500m freestyle, but women don’t swim that event in the Olympics.
She also took home a silver medal as part of Team USA’s women’s 4x100m relay team on Saturday.
So, yeah… she’s pretty good. You might say she’s in a pool of her own.