Ledecky, Sun make confident start to campaign in Kazan

Sun Aug 2, 2015 6:52am EDT
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By Rod Gilmour

KAZAN, Russia (Reuters) - American teenager Katie Ledecky started her bid to defend her three world titles by qualifying fastest for the women's 400 meters freestyle final on the opening morning at the world championships in Russia.

The 18-year-old recorded four minutes, 01.73 seconds to qualify fastest for the final later on Sunday, 2.74 seconds ahead of Australia's Jessica Ashwood.

Ledecky is competing in four freestyle events in Kazan, adding the women's 200m freestyle to her program over a grueling eight-day schedule.

"It was good to finally race and get a first swim under the belt," said Ledecky. "I think I was pretty much all on adrenaline so hopefully I can focus a little more tonight.

"I probably went out too fast which I have been told a 1,000 times not to do on the first 65 meters."

In the final individual heat of the morning session, Adam Peaty of Great Britain set the meeting's first championship record as the 20-year-old recorded the fastest time in the 100m men's breaststroke heats.

After 50m, Peaty was 0.01 seconds off his own world record pace, before easing off the gas in the closing stages ahead of the semi-finals.

"That felt relaxed," he told reporters. "I've done a lot of work on that front end, keeping it as relaxed as possible."   Continued...

Katie Ledecky celebrates after setting a world record of 3:58.86 in the womens 400m freestyle at the 2014 USA National Championships at William Woollett Jr. Aquatics Complex. Aug 9, 2014; Irvine, CA, USA. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports