Ledecky leaves field in dust, sets 800 world record

United States' Katie Ledecky celebrates after the women's 800-meter freestyle final during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Michael Sohn

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - It seems like Katie Ledecky is still waiting for the rest of the field to finish the 800 freestyle.

Right after Michael Phelps had to settle for silver in the 100-meter butterfly, Ledecky restored some normalcy at the pool by handily breaking the world record in her best event.

Ledecky joined Debbie Meyer as the only women to sweep the three longer freestyle events at the same Olympics. Meyer took the 200, 400 and 800 at the 1968 Mexico Games, and Ledecky matched that performance with a couple of world records as well.

Ledecky was merely racing the clock as she powered away from the field to touch in 8 minutes, 4.79 seconds, eclipsing the mark 8:06.68 that she set at a grand prix meet in Texas back in January.

Then, Ledecky played the waiting game, hanging on the rope for a while to let the rest of the field finish.

Jazz Karlin finally touched in 8:16.17 to claim the silver, just ahead of Hungary's Boglarka Kapas grabbing the silver in 8:16.37.

Some 23 seconds after Ledecky touched the wall, the last of the eight finalists finally got to the end of the grueling race.

Ledecky also became only the third American woman to win four gold medals in a single Olympics, following fellow swimmers Amy Van Dyken and Missy Franklin.

Maya DiRado gave the Americans another gold, pulling off a furious rally on the final lap to upset ''Iron Lady'' Katinka Hosszu of Hungary.

Hosszu settled for silver, denied in her bid for a fourth gold in Rio. The bronze went to Canada's Hilary Caldwell.

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