Katie Ledecky completes 4-for-4 swim worlds with 5-peat

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BUDAPEST — Katie Ledecky won all four of her events at the world swimming championships, capping it with an unprecedented fifth consecutive title in her trademark event, the 800m freestyle.

She clocked 8 minutes, 8.04 seconds, prevailing by 10.73 seconds over Australian Kiah Melverton and nodding upon seeing her time. Ledecky now has the 28 fastest times in history in the event. This one was the fifth fastest and her best since 2018.

“I thought I was a little faster that, but that’s the fastest I’ve been in a while, so I’m really thrilled with that,” she said. “Really excited about the future as well.”

SWIMMING WORLDS: TV Schedule | Results | U.S. Roster

Ledecky became the first swimmer to win five consecutive world titles in an individual event. Her 19th career world gold medal broke her tie with Ryan Lochte for the second-most in history behind Michael Phelps (26).

Ledecky owns 22 career world championships medals of any color, trailing Lochte (27) and Phelps (33). She has 14 individual world titles, one shy of Phelps’ record.

Ten years ago, Ledecky won her first gold medal at age 15 at the London Olympics, in the 800m freestyle.

“I made it a goal to not be a one-hit wonder, and here we are,” Ledecky said, according to USA Swimming.

Earlier in the meet, Ledecky posted her fastest 4x200m free relay split ever, the fastest 400m free ever swum at a world championships and a 1500m free time that was 7.59 seconds faster than she went in the Tokyo Olympic final.

“Probably the most fun I’ve had a meet in a long time,” Ledecky said. “The results showed.”

In 2023, the anticipation will be for a showdown at the world championships with Australian rival Ariarne Titmus, who skipped these worlds to focus on the Commonwealth Games later this summer.

Titmus, after winning the Tokyo Olympic 200m and 400m frees, broke Ledecky’s world record in the 400m free at the Australian trials last month.

Earlier Friday, Americans Phoebe Bacon and Rhyan White took silver and bronze in the 200m backstroke. Bacon, who attended the same elementary and high schools as Ledecky, was edged for gold by Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown of Australia by four hundredths.

Michael Andrew earned 50m free silver, .09 behind Brit Ben Proud. It’s Andrew’s first world medal in an individual Olympic event.

Hungarian Kristof Milak became the third man to sweep the 100m and 200m butterflies at one worlds, joining Michael Phelps and Chad le Clos.

Milak took the 100m fly in 50.14 seconds in the absence of Olympic gold medalist Caeleb Dressel, who withdrew from the meet earlier this week on unspecified medical grounds. In Tokyo, Dressel won in a world record 49.45 seconds, and Milak was second in 49.68 to supplant Phelps as the second-fastest man in history.

“I’m not satisfied with the time as I swam exactly the same time as in the semis,” Milak said, according to FINA. “But I won the gold and that’s the most important now.”

Swede Sarah Sjostrom four-peated in the 50m butterfly for her 18th individual world medal, moving two shy of Phelps’ record. Sjostrom, 28, can win a 19th in the 50m free on Saturday.

Australia won the mixed-gender 4x100m freestyle relay, which is not on the Olympic program, in a world record. The U.S. earned bronze.

Worlds wrap up Sunday. With two medals, the U.S. will break the record for most medals by one nation at a single worlds.

*Correction: An earlier version of this post stated Ledecky had the 27 fastest 800m free times in history. She has the 28 fastest.

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Aleksander Aamodt Kilde wins Beaver Creek downhill

Aleksander Aamodt Kilde
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BEAVER CREEK, Colo. — Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won his second straight World Cup downhill race to start the season, despite feeling under the weather.

Although dealing with an illness all week in training, Kilde powered through the challenging Birds of Prey course Saturday in a time of 1 minute, 42.09 seconds. It was enough to hold off Marco Odermatt of Switzerland by 0.06 seconds. James Crawford of Canada was third to earn his second career World Cup podium finish.

Kilde also won the opening downhill last weekend in Lake Louise, Alberta.

“It’s been a tough week,” Kilde said after the race. “I caught the flu in Lake Louise after a very, very nice weekend. It really hit me hard. Then I got a couple of days to rest and take it easy. … I felt OK. Still feeling it a little bit in my system.”

The Beaver Creek crew members had the course in solid shape a day after a downhill race was canceled due to high wind and snowfall.

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Kilde reached speeds around 75 mph in picking up his eighth World Cup downhill victory. That tied him with Kjetil Jansrud for the third-most downhill wins in the World Cup discipline among Norwegian men. The total trails only Aksel Lund Svindal (14) and Lasse Kjus (10).

“I found a really, really good set-up with my equipment and also with my skiing,” Kilde explained. “I believe in myself. I trust in myself. I have a good game plan. When I stand on the start, I don’t dwell on anything. I know that this plan is what I do and when I do that it’s going to be fast.”

Odermatt has been on the podium in all four World Cup races this season as he tries to defend his overall World Cup title. The 25-year-old finished third in the opening downhill of the season last weekend. He’s also won a giant slalom race and a super-G.

Ryan Cochran-Siegle wound up in seventh place for the top American finish. He was ninth in the downhill in Lake Louise.

“It’s been solid,” Cochran-Siegle said of his strides in the discipline. “A couple of little things here and there that pushed me off that top three. You have to ski with a lot of intensity and ski without abandon, in a sense. Today was a good step.”

Switzerland’s Beat Feuz, who won the Olympic downhill gold medal at the Beijing Games last February, tied for ninth.

The Beaver Creek stop on the circuit comes to a close Sunday with a super-G race. Odermatt will be the favorite after holding off Kilde in the opening super-G last weekend.

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Summer McIntosh, Canadian teen swimmer, caps record year with another historic time

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Summer McIntosh swam the fourth-fastest 400m individual medley in history on Friday, capping a year that already included world titles, Commonwealth Games titles and a victory over Katie Ledecky.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Canadian whose mom swam at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, won the 400m IM in 4 minutes, 28.61 seconds at the U.S. Open in Greensboro, N.C. She prevailed by a Ledecky-like 13.24 seconds, breaking her own national record that was previously the fourth-fastest time in history.

“It’s still pretty early in the season, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” she said on Peacock.

The only two women who ever went faster in the event known as the decathlon of swimming are Olympic gold medalists: Hungary’s Katinka Hosszu (world record 4:26.36 and 4:28.58) and China’s Ye Shiwen (4:28.43).

McIntosh has come a long way in a short time. Three years ago, she put all her eggs in the 1500m freestyle basket, thinking it was her best shot to merely qualify for the Tokyo Games in 2020. The one-year Olympic postponement was a blessing.

The rapidly improving McIntosh swam three individual events in Tokyo with a top finish of fourth in the 400m free, just missing becoming the youngest swimming medalist since 1996. She then told her coach she wanted to become an IMer.

At this past June’s world championships, McIntosh won two of the most grueling events — 400m IM and 200m butterfly — to become the youngest individual world champion since 2011. She also took silver to Ledecky in the 400m free, an event in which she later beat Ledecky in a short-course meet (25-meter pool rather than the 50-meter pool used for the Olympics).

A month after worlds, McIntosh swept the IMs at the Commonwealth Games, where she broke more world junior records and again took second in the 400m free (this time to Olympic champ and world record holder Ariarne Titmus of Australia).

McIntosh, who turned professional last year, now trains full-time in Sarasota, Florida, where she rents a house with her mom, Jill Horstead, who was ninth in the 200m fly at the 1984 Olympics (McIntosh, whose passions include the Kardashians and plants from Target, has seen video of her mom winning the B final at those Games). They’re a three-hour drive down Interstate 75 from Ledecky’s base in Gainesville.

Also Friday, Erin Gemmell celebrated her 18th birthday by nearly becoming the first American to beat Ledecky in a 200m freestyle in nearly nine years. Ledecky won by 42 hundredths of a second in 1:56.74 and said she had an off-day while also praising Gemmell, the daughter of her former coach.

NBC airs U.S. Open highlights on Dec. 10 at 4:30 p.m. ET.

U.S. OPEN SWIMMING: Full Results

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