Swimming: Ledecky lights up pool with Phelps yet to come

Sun Aug 7, 2016 3:26pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Freestyle queen Katie Ledecky swam the fastest women's 400 meters of the year on Sunday while the U.S. men's team, minus Michael Phelps for now, showed the Australians they mean business in the 4x100 relay.

France's 2012 champion Yannick Agnel failed to qualify for the men's 200 meters semi-finals, however, and finished 19th overall in the heats behind China's pacesetter Sun Yang.

There were boos heard when Russian Yulia Efimova, who won her appeal against a doping ban on the eve of the Rio Olympics, swam the second-fastest time in the women's 100m breaststroke heats. [L4N1AO0FC].

Ledecky, who is aiming for a golden triple in the individual freestyle events, had only herself to beat and led all the way to touch out in three minutes 58.71 seconds.

Closest rival Jazz Carlin of Britain was 4.12 seconds slower.

The American's time was only 0.34 slower than the world record of 3:58.37 she set in August 2014, and it came after a late night helping the women's team to 4x100 silver.

Having swum in both preliminaries and final, Ledecky went to bed 2:45 a.m. and slept until 11 a.m.

"That one felt pretty easy. Hopefully that means I can be faster tonight," said the 19-year-old, with the record clearly in her sights.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Preliminary - Women's 400m Freestyle - Heats - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 07/08/2016. Katie Ledecky (USA) of USA competes on her way to setting a new Olympic record.    REUTERS/Michael Dalder