Ledecky easily wins in 400 heat
OMAHA, Neb. — After waiting around a day, Katie Ledecky got in her first swim of the U.S. Olympic trials. It was an easy one, too.
She cruised into the 400meter freestyle final Monday, finishing a whopping 0.52 of a second faster than anyone else despite slowing down over the final lap. The Maryland teenager won her heat in 4 minutes, 2.62 seconds, finishing two body lengths ahead of the nearest competition.
“I just had to get those firstswim jitters out of the way,” Ledecky said. “I’ll just have to manage the energy a little better.
Ledecky dropped the 400 individual medley from her program, leaving her idle on the first day of competition Sunday.
“I was waiting around yesterday, watching all the swims and getting really excited,” she said. “It was pretty hard to fall asleep last night. I hope I can get a good nap here between prelims and finals and be back tonight for a good swim.”
Ledecky, who will enter Stanford in the fall, owns the world and American records in the event. She could make her second Olympic team by finishing first or second in the evening final.
Leah Smith was second in 4:03.14. Allison Schmitt, silver medalist at the 2012 London Games, qualified third in 4:06.66.
Injured Ryan Lochte advanced to the 200 free semis while swimming in pain.
Lochte qualified fifth fastest in 1:47.77 despite a groin injury he sustained in the 400 IM prelims a day earlier. He failed to make the team in that event, finishing third in the final four years after winning gold at the London Games. Only the top two earned a berth in Rio.
“I put everything I could into that (last) turn, and it didn’t feel right,” he said. “But I made it back tonight, so I got a lane. You get a lane, you get a shot.”
Lochte needed a top-eight finish in the evening semis to reach Tuesday’s final. He decided against a cortisone shot before the prelims in favor of massage and stretching.
“If it acts up even more later on, I’ll get it. I’m in pain. But pain is temporary,” he said before smiling as he turned to walk away. “I guess.”
Lochte still has multiple chances to make his fourth Olympic team and add to his haul of 11 career medals.
Swimmers finishing in the top four of the 100 and 200 freestyles earn a spot on the U.S. team.
Katie Ledecky finished two body lengths ahead of her nearest competitor in a 400-meter heat.