With only 70 minutes between races, star American swimmer Katie Ledecky won the Olympic qualifiers for the 200- and 1,500-meter freestyle in dominant fashion. The two events represent the shortest and longest events on Ledecky’s program but neither proved to be much of a challenge for the five-time gold medalist.
“The goal was to get in the warm-down pool as quickly as I could,” Ledecky said, as quoted by the Associated Press. “I tried to keep moving, hydrated and swam for 15-20 minutes before they pulled me to go back to the awards [ceremony]. I ate a banana, drank chocolate milk and water, put a jacket on as I was walking.”
Ledecky, a D.C. native, had already qualified for the 400-meter freestyle heading into Wednesday’s events. She then won the 1,500-meter with a time of 15 minutes, 40.5 seconds to set the fastest time recorded at any official event so far in 2021. This summer will mark the first time that female swimmers will compete in the 1,500-meter event at the Olympics.
As for the 200-meter, Ledecky finished a full body’s length in front of runner-up Allison Schmitt for a time of 1:55.11. Schmitt edged out third-place finisher Paige Madden by one-hundredth of a second to claim the second qualifying spot for the event in Tokyo.
Next up for Ledecky is the 800-meter freestyle, which could give her four individual Olympic events to prepare for in addition to relays.