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BARCELONA, Spain, August 2. AFTER initially engaging in some gamesmanship with Denmark’s Lotte Friis this morning in the women’s 800-meter freestyle, USA’s Katie Ledecky pulled away down the stretch to secure the top seed heading into the finale.
With wins in the 400 and 1500 freestyle events already in her back pocket, Ledecky turned in an easy 8:20.65 to lead the way this morning. That puts her in line to join Germany’s Hannah Stockbauer as the only women to ever sweep the 400/800/1500 freestyles as Stockbauer pulled off the feat in 2003.
With Ledecky in the final, it’s basically a lock that she will stand at the top of the podium as she has yet to lose a finale in an international meet starting with her stunning victory in the 800-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Games. With her win then, and her victories in the 400 free, 1500 free and 800 freestyle relays this week, she’s four-for-four in international finals.
New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle put up a continental record with an 8:21.00, blasting the previous continental mark of 8:22.81 set by Kylie Palmer at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. While New Zealand’s leadership structure has been under fire, Boyle has pushed aside the controversies to put on a strong performance at this meet thus far.
Friis, who joined Ledecky in the most epic head-to-head showdown in women’s 1500-meter freestyle history earlier this week, went back-and-forth with Ledecky this morning in the final heat before settling for third in 8:23.00.
Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia (8:25.03), Hungary’s Boglarka Kapas (8:25.26), Italy’s Martina De Memme (8:26.95), Venezuela’s Andreina Pinto (8:27.03) and USA’s Chloe Sutton (8:27.41) picked up the rest of the spots in the championship finale.