Katie Ledecky suf­fers first loss at swimming world cham­pi­onships.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

BU­DAPEST, Hun­gary — Katie Ledecky reached for the wall Wed­nes­day, but some­one else was al­ready there.

For the first time ever at the world cham­pi­onships, Ledecky knows what it’s like to lose.

Bid­ding to be­come only the sec­ond fe­male swim­mer to win six golds at a sin­gle worlds, Ledecky set­tled for sil­ver in the 200-me­ter freestyle Wed­nes­day evening when Italy’s Fed­er­ica Pel­le­grini surged to a stun­ning vic­tory on the fi­nal lap.

Pel­le­grini, the world-record holder, avenged a close de­feat at the hands of Ledecky two years ago in Kazan, Rus­sia. This time, it was the Ital­ian touch­ing first in 1 minute, 54.73 sec­onds.

Ledecky and Aus­tralia’s Emma McKeon tied for the sil­ver at 1:55.18.

“I just didn’t re­ally have it to­day,” Ledecky said. “I can’t com­plain re­ally with the sil­ver medal.”

She had never seen a “2” be­side her name at the world cham­pi­onships.

It was there in Bu­dapest, where Ledecky’s un­beaten streak in the sec­ond-big­gest swimming com­pe­ti­tion af­ter the Olympics fi­nally ended.

“I didn’t re­ally feel at the end that I had that ex­tra gear that I nor­mally have,” said the 20-year-old Stan­ford stu­dent from the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., sub­urbs. Ledecky had been 12 of 12 over the last three world cham­pi­onships, in­clud­ing three golds in this stately Euro­pean cap­i­tal. But her most au­da­cious sched­ule yet — six freestyle events cov­er­ing dis­tances rang­ing from 100 me­ters (on a re­lay) to 1,500 (the gru­el­ing met­ric mile) — fi­nally caught up with her along the banks of the Danube.

Missy Franklin will re­main the only fe­male swim­mer to win a half-dozen events at worlds, while Ledecky can take comfort in be­ing the win­ningest fe­male swim­mer over­all. Twelve golds leave her trail­ing only fel­low Amer­i­cans Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte for the most vic­to­ries.


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