Bethesda's Ledecky headed to Olympics -- Gazette.Net


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Rising Stone Ridge sophomore swimmer Katie Ledecky of Bethesda will be London-bound at the end of the month.

The 15-year-old won the 800-meter freestyle on Sunday evening at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Omaha, Neb., to become the youngest member of Team USA.

“This is unbelievable,” Ledecky told NBC, which televised the Olympic Trials on Sunday. “A year ago I didn't even have the 800 cut for this meet yet, I don't think. Just to see what I've come in a year and how much my coach has pushed and really worked hard with me is a great feeling right now.”

Ledecky finished in a meet-record time of 8 minutes, 19.78 seconds, 2.09 seconds ahead of former Bishop O'Connell (Va.) swimmer Kate Ziegler, who also clinched an Olympic berth with a second-place finish.

On Tuesday Ledecky barely missed the cut in the 400-meter final, where she finished third despite breaking a 24-year-old national record for her age group previously held by Janet Evans.

Ledecky broke ahead of the pack early in Sunday's 800-meter final and never relinquished her lead.

The Olympic swimming competition will be held over eight days at the Aquatics Centre in London from July 28 to Aug. 4.

“I was really surprised with how fast I went out [Sunday],” she said. “I wasn't really expecting it, but I just went with it and kept going.”

jbeekman@gazette.net