- Jeff Curry/Getty
With the Rio Olympics just over a month away, 19-year-old US swimmer Katie Ledecky looks poised to dominate the games.
On Monday, Ledecky swam in the US time trials, winning the 400 freestyle in what has essentially become a formality for her.
Incredibly, Ledecky’s time of 3 minutes 58.98 seconds was considered a disappointment, as it was slightly less than a second away from the world record – which she owns.
Despite audible disappointment from the crowd, it was also the fastest time in the world this year.
Perhaps even more astonishingly, Ledecky is so good that her fellow swimmers have a hilariously low bar for what they consider to be a successful race against her. Twenty-one-year-old Leah Smith gave Ledecky chase throughout the race, finishing at 4:00.65 – under two seconds behind Ledecky. Afterward, Smith described her second-place finish, summarizing how dominant Ledecky is (emphasis ours):
“I had never been able to see her feet before [in a race], so that was pretty exciting,” Smith said. “My goal wasn’t really to stay with her because that would be stupid.”
Even Ledecky had to take some pride in her below-par time, saying afterward: “That’s fast. That’s three seconds faster than anybody else in the world. I think we’re going to really represent the US well in that event.”
If disappointing for Ledecky is a near world record, she’s going to come home from Rio with a lot of medals.