USA’s Katie Ledecky sets Olympic record in 400-meter freestyle prelims

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

Katie Ledecky of the United States competes in the Women's 400m Freestyle heat on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images)

RIO DE JANIERO — Katie Ledecky nearly broke her own world record in the preliminaries of the 400-meter freestyle, setting herself up as the overwhelming favorite to capture her first gold medal of the Rio Olympics.

Ledecky posted a time of 3 minutes, 58.71 seconds, actually backing off a bit on the closing lap to conserve energy for the Sunday night final. She just missed her mark of 3:58.37 set in 2014.

No one is even close to Ledecky, who will essentially be racing the clock in the final. The next-fastest qualifier was Britain’s Jazz Carlin, who was more than 4 seconds behind. American Leah Smith posted the third-fastest time in the prelims.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.