Ledecky Dominates Competition En Route to Destroying the World Record

American Katie Ledecky winning the 800 freestyle was the closest thing to an absolute lock that you could find at the pool in Rio. In fact if you were to put a $500 bet down in Las Vegas before the race you would have won a whopping $10.

Ledecky came into the final with the 12 fastest times in the history of the 800 freestyle and in Rio she had already claimed gold in the 200 and 400 freestyle as well as the 4 x 200 freestyle relay. The 19 year old won the event this evening in a time of 8:04.79 over 11 seconds ahead of the field and 1.89 seconds under her own world record of 8:06.68, which she set at the Arena Pro Swim Series in January.

  • Ledecky (Rio)
    • 28.03/57.98 (29.95)/1:28.71 (30.73)/1:59.42 (30.71)/2:30.06 (30.64)/3:00.76 (30.70)/3:31.13 (30.37)/ 4:01.98 (30.85)/4:32.20 (30.22)/5:02.94 (30.74)/5:33.54 (30.60)/6:04.30 (30.76)/6:35.07 (30.77)/ 7:05.44 (30.37)/7:35.80 (30.36)/8:04.79 (28.99)
  • Ledecky (Arena Pro Swim Series)
    • 28.35/ 58.82 (30.47)/1:29.40 (30.58)/2:00.20 (30.80)/2:31.03 (30.83)/3:01.80 (30.77)/3:32.60 (30.80)/4:03.22 (30.62)/4:33.87 (30.65)/5:04.62 (30.75)/5:35.39 (30.77)/6:06.00 (30.61)/6:36.75 (30.75)/7:07.37 (30.62)/7:37.84 (30.47)/8:06.68 (28.84)

“I had a lot of fun tonight,” said Ledecky. “I just wanted to push myself and see what I could do. It was my last Olympic race here in Rio. The Olympics is the pinnacle of our sport and I have to wait four more years to have that moment again so I wanted the last one to be special.”

“It felt faster than any event I had ever done before so I was pretty confident that I would be under that world record time.”

By taking the event she becomes the first woman to win the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle in one Olympic Games since fellow American Debbie Meyer accomplished the same feat in 1968.

Since winning the 800 freestyle in London Ledecky has been unbeatable in international competition winning the event at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships as well as the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.

This was her second world record of the Games as she set a new mark in the 400 freestyle winning the event in a time of 3:56.46 breaking her own record of 3:58.37, which she set at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships.

After the race Ledecky said that she achieved what she set to achieve over the last week, “I couldn’t be happier,” said Ledecky. “I hit all of my goals and had so much fun.”

“Team USA has been doing great and we feed off of each other’s energy.”

“I woke up with a sore throat this morning because I was screaming for Simone Manuel at the TV last night – she’s my roommate – and then seeing Maya Dirado win the 200 metres backstroke in what was her last race ever just got me so excited to race.”


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Chad LeSlow

She was not as dominant as Peaty


thanks, eeyore



Jim C

She was not as dominant as Peaty. Of course Ledecky entered more events than Peaty. But still it is nice to have Peaty to point to if people say what Ledecky did is too good to be true.

Steve Nolan

Meh. Peaty won one of the two breaststroke races offered here. Katie won four.

(Both would win 50/1500 if offered, of course. Still though.)


Interesting – Not sure using an athlete (Peaty) whose performances will raise serious questions for some people would really be the best defense of Ledecky, were somebody to throw around accusations 😉

Because I have to be honest – Whether it is Peaty or Ledecky, Phelps or Thorpe at their prime, I will always have an ounce of caution watching them swim as utterly dominantly as they do. Perhaps that takes away some enjoyment – But I’ll have that ounce of scepticism, rather than unbridled hope and naive belief.

Lane Four

After the history of doping in this sport (and I mean from East Germany all the way to present day Russia and Kenya), I understand your skepticism. There is still one swimmer I look at with a huge dose of skepticism, but until this person tests positive, I will refrain from saying the name.




Actually she was. There were times during the middle of the race where the camera panned out from her and no one else was in the screen view. THAT, my friend, is absolute dominance. Also, her first 400 was 4:01. If I remember correctly she would have won gold with that time- and if not gold then silver, but almost gold. This girl (yes, girl, she is 19) is pure magic. Peaty is incredible; but there is just something about Ledecky that screams invulnerability. The fact that VDB almost beat Peaty last year at worlds still kinda erks me about his dominance. Ledecky never, ever falters


Actually her 400 split would have been fourth


Downvotes for a fact? Check the results people


I meant in the absence of herself. But yes, you’re right, but my point was that her split would have been competitive for the win

Pau Hana

She is 19. She’s a woman.


Eh, maybe. Woman to me is like mid twenties. Sure, “girl” may be like 12 and under for some, but 19 can definitely be justified as “girl”


no it can’t

Chad LeSlow

Because Peaty one by a greater percentage than ledeckey


what is the meaning of domination to u ?


Carlin beat the non-Ledecky textile best time, beating Janet Evans’s 8:16.22

Jim C

I believe the non-Ledecky textile best is Carlin’s own 8:15.54 from 2014.


Truly overshadowed by Ledecky – But 4.01/8.15/15.47 textile bests. Carlin is one of the most underrated distance swimmers in history.

Developed by Bud MCallister – Evans & Carlin, 2nd & 3rd Textile, not bad pedigree for Bud!


I want to see the doping test result of Ledecky


You’re on to something here!


Chill out there Vladimir. She’s clean. And she’s brilliant.


How can I see the doping test result after this games


work in the lab they do it at? you can’t just “see the result.” rest assured, if she fails at test you’ll know. it would be the biggest swimming news since…ever


Go have a look at any of her test results from 2015 Worlds.


She’s obviously clean. According to swimswam, white Americans would never cheat at anything. Just ask the Native Americans.

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