Katie Ledecky won the 200 meter freestyle final tonight to collect her third medal of the Rio Olympics. Ledecky won the 400 meter freestyle on Sunday, but her win tonight was much more impressive. The 19-year-old swimmer owns the world records in the 400, 800, and 1500 meter races, so she’s not necessarily a natural sprinter. Thankfully, she’s strong enough that her relative deficiencies don’t really matter. This was supposedly her weakest Olympic event, but she whooped on everyone anyway.
Ledecky’s time of 1:53:73 was less than one second off the world record pace, and she held off Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom by 0.35 of a second. After the race, Ledecky expressed how happy she was to have Sjostrom give her a race, as well as her boredom with dominating the distance events, saying, “It’s really nice when you have that competition, when you get to race other world record holders.”
That quote doesn’t have nearly the spiciness of Lilly King’s takes, but it carries all of the earned superiority. Ledecky is most likely going to win the 800 meter race and get herself a third individual gold medal. The distance analogy between distances on the track and in the pool doesn’t quite track 1:1, but being the best in the world at the 200, 400, 800, and helping the United States to a 4 x 100 silver medal represents an incredible range of dominance. Katie Ledecky is going to be around for a long time, and she can do it all.