Phelps and Ledecky seek even more gold

Mon Aug 8, 2016 3:32pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - U.S. team mates Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky moved on from a golden Sunday, somewhat creakily in the case of the former, and returned to the Olympic pool in search of individual glory on Monday.

Ledecky, who won the women's 400 meters freestyle gold in world-record time late on Sunday as well as a 4x100m relay silver on Saturday, was back in action in the afternoon's 200m freestyle preliminaries.

''It was tough coming off last night, but I think I got my lane for semi-finals tonight, so it should be good,'' said the 19-year-old who set the fastest time of one minute 55.01 seconds in the heats and is on for a golden freestyle treble in Rio.

Italy's Federica Pellegrini, who set the world record of 1:52.98 in 2009 in a now-banned synthetic body suit, was fifth fastest and expecting fireworks in Tuesday's final.

''I think it will be the fastest 200 final in history, we never had such high performances in heats,'' she told reporters.

Phelps, who celebrated the 19th Olympic gold of his career in Sunday's 4x100m relay, faces more of a battle as he chases what would be his first individual medal of these Games.

The 31-year-old, in his fifth Games, was fifth fastest in the 200m butterfly -- the first event the world record holder ever raced at an Olympics in 2000 -- but feeling the pain of a late night in the pool.

His 1:55.73 was a second slower than the 1:54.73 of pace-setting Hungarian Tamas Kenderesi, whose compatriot Laszlo Cseh was second fastest and sensing an opportunity.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Swimming - Preliminary - Women's 200m Freestyle - Heats - Olympic Aquatics Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 08/08/2016. Katie Ledecky (USA) of USA reacts.   REUTERS/Michael Dalder