There wasn’t much suspense going into the women’s 400 meter freestyle final. Katie Ledecky was expected to win the gold medal, the only question was by how much.
In the end Ledecky blew away the field, breaking the world record with a time of 3:56.46. Ledecky won the race by nearly five seconds, with Great Britain’s Jazz Carlin finishing second with a time of 4:01.23. Joining those two on the podium will be a second American in Leah Smith, who finished the race with a time of 4:01.92.
Ledecky’s now won two medals in Rio, with the first coming in the 4×100 meter freestyle relay (silver), and she’s expected to haul in a few more before the Olympics come to an end too. Ledecky became the first American to win gold in this event since Brooke Bennett in 2000, and she moved to 13-0 in major international finals in individual events. She’s also the first to follow up a world championship in this event with an Olympic gold medal.
Ledecky held the World Record, posting a time of 3:58.37 in 2014, and she also established a new Olympic record during the prelims. Both of those marks fell Sunday night, and while amazed by her performance few were stunned by how dominant Ledecky was.