Ledecky rules 800m freestyle again at US Open

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  • Ledecky’s time was more than 11 seconds shy of her world record, set in 2016, and almost two seconds behind her winning time from last year’s US Open
  • The meet continues until Saturday and features several international stars alongside American Olympians

WASHINGTON: Seven-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky eased to victory in the 800-meter freestyle on Wednesday in the opening race of the US Open Swimming Championships at Greensboro, North Carolina.

Ledecky, the three-time defending Olympic gold medalist and current world champion in the 800 free, posted a time of 8mins 15.91secs to win by almost 15 seconds.

Ledecky’s time was more than 11 seconds shy of her world record, set in 2016, and almost two seconds behind her winning time from last year’s US Open.

But the meet is a staging post for the 26-year-old Ledecky as she builds up toward next year’s Olympics, where she hopes to become the first woman ever to win four Olympic gold medals in one event.

The US Olympic team trials will be held in Indianapolis on June 15-23, 2024.

Fellow Olympian Paige Madden of Arizona State University, who is guided by former Michael Phelps coach Bob Bowman, finished second in 8:29.91.

Jillian Cox, a 19-year-old Texan who finished sixth at the World Championships in Fukuoka in July, was third.

Ledecky will be back in the pool for the 400m freestyle heats on Thursday.

In the men’s 800 free, the withdrawal of world champion Ahmed Hafnaoui of Tunisia left Tokyo Olympic champion Bobby Finke as the favorite, but he surprisingly finished off the podium.

Charlie Clark came from behind to beat David Johnston with a time of 7:50.49 while Ilia Sibirtsev’s time of 7:54.36 was enough to pip Finke for third.

The meet continues until Saturday and features several international stars alongside American Olympians with Canadian sensation Summer McIntosh, a 17-year-old four-time world champion, set to challenge Ledecky in the 400m free.

Seven-time Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel will race as he continues his return to the sport after a lengthy break.

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