Ledecky learn­ing to let ex­pe­ri­ence work its magic

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

BU­DAPEST — Katie Ledecky, the bril­liant 20-yearold Amer­i­can freestyler, is now older and wiser when it comes to com­plet­ing one of swim­ming’s most pun­ish­ing ses­sion sched­ules.

At the 2015 world cham­pi­onships in Kazan, she com­peted in the 1500m fi­nal — an event now on the pro­gram for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics — and less than 30 min­utes later she swam in the 200m freestyle semis.

In Rus­sia, she said her legs had turned to jelly in her de­but at­tempt at the feat when she qual­i­fied only sixth fastest for the 200 fi­nal.

But she won gold in the dis­tance event at the world cham­pi­onships on Tues­day be­fore stretch­ing ev­ery last sinew to ease into the 200 fi­nal with the quick­est time.

“The ex­pe­ri­ence of know­ing how it went two years ago, I knew I could do it again,” Ledecky said at a post-race me­dia conference.

She be­came the most dec­o­rated woman in world swim­ming fol­low­ing a hat-trick of world 1500m golds, sur­pass­ing com­pa­triot Missy Franklin’s 11 global ti­tles.

The five-time Olympic gold medal­ist went straight to the warm-down pool and swam around 900 me­ters be­fore be­ing pulled out by her coaches to pre­pare for the vic­tory cer­e­mony and the 200m free semis.

“You look over at the score­board, see your time, see your place, then kind of try to fo­cus on the next race do­ing what I need to do to get ready for that,” Ledecky said.

Ledecky is con­tent rid­ing her bike at Stam­ford Univer­sity in pref­er­ence to the or­deal of pass­ing her driv­ing test.

“But it’s hard through 364 other days of the year. It’s putting in the work in prac­tice so when I get up to this day I can just do it,” she said.

“It’s rou­tine like this and to know that I have the work in the bank to get up and swim those times.”

Near­ing the half­way mark in Bu­dapest, Ledecky is well on the way to com­plet­ing her sched­uled 6,300 me­ters of com­pet­i­tive swim­ming this week and she topped qual­i­fy­ing for Wed­nes­day’s 200m freestyle fi­nal, beat­ing the likes of Hun­gary’s Katinka Hosszu.

Lit­tle won­der that Spain’s Mireia Bel­monte, who won 1500m sil­ver be­hind Ledecky, is in awe of the Amer­i­can.

“When you swim with Ledecky it is like from an­other planet. Peo­ple from this planet are dif­fer­ent,” Bel­monte said.

STE­FAN WERMUTH / REUTERS

Bri­tain’s Adam Peaty, en route to a world record in the 50m breast­stroke semi­fi­nals on Tues­day.

STE­FAN WERMUTH / REUTERS

Katie Ledecky re­acts af­ter win­ning the women’s 1500m freestyle ti­tle on Tues­day.

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