Ledecky smashes 800m record to claim freestyle treble

Sat Aug 13, 2016 5:18am EDT
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By Daniel Flynn

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Katie Ledecky of the United States finally succumbed to her emotions on the podium after destroying the field in the 800 meters freestyle on Friday and smashing her own world record to complete a rare Olympic swimming treble.

Ledecky led from the start and inexorably stretched out the gap over her opponents to finish in eight minutes, 4.79 seconds, beating her previous mark of 8:06.68 set in Austin, Texas in January.

Britain's Jazz Carlin won her second silver medal in 8:16.17, and Boglarka Kapas of Hungary took the bronze.

Ledecky, defending Olympic champion at the distance, added to her golds earlier in the week in the 200 and 400 freestyle and the 4x200 freestyle relay, plus a silver in the 4x100 relay.

The only previous woman to win the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle at the same Games was American Debbie Meyer in 1968.

"I have to wait another four years to have this moment and I just wanted to enjoy it all and put my very best swim out there," Ledecky said after her final race in Rio.

She said that Meyer had sent her a video message of support via her mother before the race.

"I try not to think about the history of it much, but just to be mentioned in the same sentence as her is incredible," she said.   Continued...

USA's Katie Ledecky reacts after winning and setting a new world record.    REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci