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