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Mini “Gold Rush” for US Swimming teen champions

August 1, 2013
Katie Ledecky is "The Next Big Thing" as an American long-distance swimmer.

Katie Ledecky is “The Next Big Thing” as an American long-distance swimmer.

Day 3 for Swimming in the 15th FINA World Championships was so far the most rewarding day for the United States swimming team, as three American swimmers- Missy Franklin, Katie Ledecky, and Matt Grevers- finished first in their respective events.

16-year-old prodigy Katie Ledecky destroyed the women’s 1500m freestyle world record by almost 6 seconds and bagged her second victory in Barcelona following her 400m freestyle gold on Day 1. Ledecky battled neck and neck with defending champion Lotte Friis of Denmark, with both swimming far ahead of the world record splits set by Kate Ziegler in 2007. Friis’s arm-length lead soon disappeared as Ledecky picked up the pace and broke off into the top in the last 150 meters.

“My stroke is feeling better than ever, and I’m just keeping up the momentum I started in the 400m freestyle,” Ledecky told FINA. “This victory gave me the confidence that I could put up some additional good swims. I’ve been feeling really good this week.”

At 16 years and 135 days of age, Ledecky became the youngest woman to be crowned the 1500m freestyle champion.

Missy Franklin, 18, claimed her second gold of the championship as well on Day 3, swimming 58.42 the women’s 100m backstroke in 58.42 seconds. She won the race with a comfortable margin, leading second-place Emily Seebohm from Australia by 0.24 seconds. Franklin now has two gold medals along with a 4x100m freestyle relay title, and she is setting sight on gold in six more events.

The other 16-year-old prodigy, Ruta Meilutyte from Lithuania, also won a double. Although Meilutyte finished just slower than the world- record time she clocked in the women’s 100m breaststroke semi-finals, she now has the Olympic and World Championship medal under her guard and is now the fastest female breaststroker in the world in the post-Jones and Soni era.

Olympic gold medalist Matt Grevers brought the third title of the day for the US Swimming, finishing the men’s 100m backstroke in 52.93 seconds. His teammate David Plummer followed closely snatching the silver in 53.12 seconds as the Americans continued to show their utter dominance in the event.

Yannick Agnel of France dominated the men’s 200m freestyle, showing the world once again what this young Frenchman can do. The defending champion Ryan Lochte, however, failed to perform in the race. His disappointing swim placed him for fourth, just outside the podium.

After being crowned the 200m IM champion, USC’s Katinka Hosszu represented Hungary for the women’s 200m freestyle semifinal. She was placed 9th after two heats, missing the spot for final race by an inch.

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