Katie Ledecky posts fastest time of 2017 to open Atlanta meet

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Katie Ledecky continued to distance herself from the world in the freestyle distance events, posting the fastest time of the year in the 400m freestyle in Atlanta on Friday.

The four-time Rio Olympic champion clocked 4:00.98 at Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, site of the 1996 Olympic swimming competition. She won by a comfortable 7.46 seconds over Joanna Evans.

Full meet results are here.

Ledecky was close to her pool record of 4:00.31, set at the Atlanta meet one year ago. She came into the meet with the fastest time in the world this year of 4:01.01 from last month.

She looks to be in strong form coming off her freshman season at Stanford and going into the U.S. Championships in June, where the top two per event qualify for the world championships in July.

Ledecky also finished fifth in the 100m freestyle on Friday, 15 minutes before her 400m final. Stanford teammate and co-Olympic champion Simone Manuel won the 100m free in 53.82. Ledecky touched in 54.69.

The 100m free was billed as a showdown between Manuel and Canadian Penny Oleksiak, whom Manuel tied in Rio. But Oleksiak was a late scratch from the entire meet Friday due to family reasons, according to CBC.

The Atlanta meet continues Saturday and Sunday with finals from 7-8:30 p.m. ET, streamed on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app. NBCSN will also air live coverage Saturday.

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