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Teen smashes world record

'Probably made in same factory as Michael Phelps'

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Katie Ledecky of the U.S. celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Women's 1500-m freestyle at the world swimming championship in Barcelona, Spain.

MICHAEL SOHN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Katie Ledecky of the U.S. celebrates after winning the gold medal in the Women's 1500-m freestyle at the world swimming championship in Barcelona, Spain.

BARCELONA, Spain -- American teenager Katie Ledecky smashed the world record in the 1,500 freestyle for her second gold medal at the world swimming championships on Tuesday.

Looking stronger at the end of the gruelling race than she did at the beginning, the 16-year-old obliterated the world record in the 1,500-metre freestyle by more than six seconds Tuesday night for her second gold medal at the world swimming championships.

"She's absolutely fit," marvelled Mereia Belmonte of Spain, who finished far back in fourth. "Impressive. She's probably made in the same factory as Michael Phelps."

Fellow American Missy Franklin picked up her second gold medal, as well.

Cruising through a demanding double, the 18-year-old star of the London Olympics easily won the 100 backstroke, then returned about an hour later to post the second-fastest time in the semifinals of the 200 free.

'It wasn't my night. But I have to put it behind me because I still have many races to swim'

-- American Ryan Lochte

"It's tough but it's fun," Franklin said. "I'm super happy with my 100 back. It really got me pumped up for the 200 free."

Elsewhere, Victoria's Ryan Cochrane advanced to the final in the men's 800-metre freestyle.

The 24-year-old swam his heat in 7:49.58 Tuesday, putting him in third position heading into today's final. American Connor Jaeger (7:49.28) and China's Sun Yang (7:49.37) were the only swimmers faster.

"It's exciting to have a smooth morning swim and it sets me up for (today)," said Cochrane, who finished fourth in the 400-metre freestyle on Sunday.

"It was pretty hard coming back from the 400. Fourth place by two tenths of a second, it stings a bit but the 800 and the 1,500 are definitely my more comfortable events."

Montreal's Barbara Jardin was eliminated in the semifinals of the women's 200-metre freestyle, while Sam Cheverton of Pointe-Claire, Que., didn't advance past the heats.

Edmonton's Richard Funk missed the semifinal by 0.2 seconds in the men's 50-metre freestyle and Zack Chetrat of Oakville, Ont., missed the semifinal in the men's 200-metre butterfly.

It was a good night for the Americans after they failed to win gold the previous day.

Matt Grevers and David Plummer went 1-2 in the 100 backstroke for the third U.S. victory of the session. Conor Dwyer picked up a silver behind France's Yannick Agnel in the 200 free, and Jessica Hardy chipped in with a bronze in the 100 breaststroke won by Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte.

The only disappointment for the U.S. was Ryan Lochte, who laboured to a fourth-place finish in the 200 free.

"It wasn't my night," the three-time Olympian said. "But I have to put it behind me because I still have many races to swim."

He hopes to compete in seven events in Barcelona, despite not being able to train as much as usual this year while taking part in his reality television show, What Would Ryan Lochte Do?

No such concerns for Ledecky, who is clearly in top form. She went stroke for stroke much of the race with defending world champion Lotte Friis, the Danish swimmer slightly ahead and both well under the world-record pace set by Kate Ziegler in 2007.

Ledecky edged out front at the 1,300 mark and began to pull away, touching in 15 minutes, 36.53 seconds. A woman ran through the crowd with a blue flag that proclaimed "World Record" -- Ziegler's mark of 15:42.54 never standing a chance.

Friis also went under the old record, 15:38.88, but it was only good enough for silver.

"Around the last 200, I knew I could take off," Ledecky said.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 31, 2013 D6

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