UVA's Leah Smith Swims to a Bronze Medal at Rio Olympics

Ross Houston
August 9, 2016

Ledecky, who has gone from strength to strength since her surprise win in the 800m free as a 15-year-old in London, has broken 12 world records since then.

Touching the wall at 3:56.46, the distance swimmer who has owned the event, outpaced her former record by nearly two seconds. And it was an absolute rout.

Ledecky's 3-minute, 56.46-second triumph slashed nearly two seconds off her two-year-old world record and had her finishing almost five seconds ahead of silver medalist Jazz Carlin of Great Britain (4:01.23).

"The goal I set was 3:56 or better", she added, "and to see a 56 up there is really good". According to Joyner, Olympic venues aren't usually among the best in the world.

Plus, many of today's world records are set on courses that are designed for optimal race conditions. The previous record which she set herself back in 2014, was 3:58.37.

"It is impossible to tell Katinka's story accurately without giving appropriate credit to Shane, and that's what I was trying to do", Hicks said.

"There are some spectacular performances", Joyner says, "but in the Olympics there aren't a lot of world records in general".

Ledecky, who won a silver medal anchoring the US 4x100 freestyle relay Saturday night, has the 200 and 800 freestyle races coming later this week.

NBC's prime-time telecast averaged 29.8 million viewers Sunday, higher than Friday's opening ceremony and nine million more than Saturday's lackluster first night of competition.

"Before the start I said to myself it's just a pool". "And I just let it all out".

"I think if I didn't have my brother swimming with me, I don't know if I would have loved it as much as I did and still do".

Sweden's Sjostrom also smashed her own world record to clinch gold in the women's 100m butterfly. In addition, she could pick up another gold in the 4x200 free relay. American Dana Vollmer, the 2012 champion, clinched bronze. Ledecky pursued that major very hard here Sunday night.

Such was the case again Sunday night when Ledecky, the Stanford-bound, 19-year-old from Bethesda, Md., opened her bid to win three freestyle gold medals at these Olympic Games with a world-record-destroying victory in the 400 final at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium.

After the initial 100 meters of Sunday's race, she already led her closest opponent by 1.53 seconds. "I was so hyped tonight and so excited".

With son Boomer in attendance, Phelps did his kid proud, along with teammates Caleb Dressel, Ryan Held and Nathan Adrian. The French won silver, 0.61 seconds behind the Americans.

Despite four world championship titles, Sjostrom had previously never won an Olympic medal.

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