US swimmer Kathleen “Katie” Ledecky, who attended Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart near her parents’ home in Bethesda, Maryland, just became the first Olympian since Debbie Meyer in 1968 to win gold medals in the 200, 400, and 800m freestyle. In so doing, Ledecky broke her own world record in the 800, with a time of 8:04.79, the New York Times reports.
No one else was even close in the final heat, with Britain’s Jazz Carlin touching the wall 11.38 seconds after Ledecky’s world-record touch.
“I hit all my goals right on the nose this week,” she said at an emotional press conference after the event. “I’m just proud to be part of that history.”
“Just kind of the end of a four-year journey,” the Washington Post quoted her as saying a few moments after the race, noting that she was no longer able to hold back the tears. “I don’t know why I’m crying. There were nights I would go to bed and think about this day [and] how much fun I’ve had these past four years, and I’d start crying in bed. And I just wanted to make this meet count and have a lot of fun with it.”
Just two years ago, she set the world record in the 400m freestyle at the Pan Pacific Championships, a video of which is shown below.
“She’s doing times that women have never done before because she’s not afraid to think outside the box,” the Times quoted fellow Olympian and fellow Marylander Michael Phelps as saying. “She’s not afraid and her mind is open to everything.”
Ms Ledecky graduated from high school in 2015 and has committed to attend Stanford University in California. She took a year off, however, in order to prepare for the Olympics in Rio, and plans to start college this fall.