North America Recap Day 4: Ledecky Beats Sjostrom In Clash of Stars

2016 RIO OLYMPIC GAMES

With her perfect 13-for-13 major international individual record at risk tonight in the women’s 200 free, American superstar Katie Ledecky came through in what had to be the toughest challenge of her career.

Ledecky and Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom had managed to avoid racing each over the last few years despite being two of the world’s top ranked 200 freestylers, but that came to an end tonight.

Swimming in lane 5, Ledecky took over the lead of the race on the third length and never looked back. Sjostrom, swimming in lane 4, began to close on Ledecky with about 25 metres to go, but Ledecky surged ahead again, ultimately winning in a personal best time of 1:53.73. Sjostrom settled for silver in 1:54.08.

The win keeps Ledecky’s perfect individual record at international meets intact, and it also removes Sjostrom from the conversation for the Female Swimmer of the Meet Award. That will come down to Ledecky and Katinka Hosszu, who won her third individual gold medal of the Games tonight in the 200 IM.

Ledecky now has three medals; two individual golds to go along with a relay silver, with two more golds likely coming. Hosszu has one more chance for a medal in the 200 back, where she is one of the favorites.

After winning the 100 fly in a world record Sjostrom needed to come away with a win head-to-head against Ledecky in this race to have a hope of winning the award, but it was not to be. She still has medal opportunities in the 50 and 100 freestyle, along with the remaining relays, though those are outside shots.

With the toughest one out of the way, Ledecky is well on her to way to becoming the first female since Debbie Meyer in 1968 to win the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle events in the same Olympics.

Along with Ledecky, there were a few other big stories that came from North Americans on night 4 from the pool. Check some of them out below:

  • Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time, extended his all-time gold medal lead to 12 by adding two more for a total of 21 in the 200 butterfly and the 800 freestyle relay. In the 200 fly he defeated rival Chad Le Clos who surprisingly failed to even medal, and in the 800 free relay he and his American teammates got the job done winning by three seconds. On that relay Ryan Lochte won his 12th career Olympic medal, Conor Dwyer won his third, and Townley Haas won his first.
  • With that medal Ryan Lochte becomes the 2nd most decorated male Olympic swimmer in history, passing Mark Spitz who had 11. He also ties Natalie CoughlinJenny Thompson and Dara Torres for the 2nd most decorated swimmer in general, trailing only Phelps.
  • The Americans managed to medal in each final tonight, as along with Phelps, Ledecky and the relay, Maya Dirado picked up bronze in the women’s 200 IM. Dirado finished 3rd in 2:08.79 behind only Katinka Hosszu and Siobhan-Marie O’Connor. Her teammate Melanie Margalis also performed well, placing 4th in 2:09.21.
  • Nathan Adrian (1st), Santo Condorelli (t-3rd) and Caeleb Dressel (5th) all qualified for the 100m free finals set to go tomorrow night. Adrian will look to win his second straight Olympic gold in the event, while Condorelli and Dressel will both look for medals after both producing personal best times today. Condorelli’s Canadian teammate Yuri Kisil also had a strong showing in this event, swimming personal best times in the prelims and semis, ultimately finishing in a tie for 10th.
  • After both going 2:06.67 this morning, Americans Cammile Adams and Hali Flickinger were a tad slower tonight, but still managed to advance through to the 200 fly final tomorrow. Flickinger was 6th, and Adams was 8th.
  • Josh Prenot and Kevin Cordes both had strong swims in the men’s 200 breast semis, getting under 2:08 and qualifying for tomorrow’s final in 3rd and 5th place respectively.

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About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James formerly competed for the Laurentian Voyageurs in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in February of 2018, placing 11th at the OUA Championships in the 200 IM, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics in May. He …

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