By Sharon Robb
August 6, 2015—Teenager Katie Ledecky added to her gold medal haul Thursday at the XVI FINA World Aquatic Championships at Kazan Arena.
After winning the 200, 400 and 1500-meter freestyle individual events, Ledecky, 18, anchored Team USA’s winning 800-meter freestyle relay.
It was the team’s third straight 800 relay world title, aided mostly by lead-off swimmer Missy Franklin and Ledecky, joined by Leah Smith and Katie McLaughlin.
“We went in and we knew the field would be so-so tough,” Franklin said. “I think we have a lot of confidence in this relay, having this been our third time winning it. We are so grateful and so honored. There was an incredible race out there tonight.”
Ledecky had the fastest split of 1:55.64 to enable Team USA to win by three seconds in 7:45.37. It was Ledecky’s eighth career world title.
Italy took the silver medal in 7:48.41 thanks to a 1:54.73 anchor leg by Federico Pellegrini. China earned the bronze in 7:49.10.
Franklin equaled Katie Hoff’s record of three gold medals in the women’s 4×200-meter freestyle relay.
Franklin also qualified for the final in the 100-meter freestyle securing the eighth and final spot in 53.92 just ahead of Canadian Chantal Van Landeghem in 53.93.
In performances by swimmers with Florida-ties:
Iceland’s Hilda Luthersdottir of Gator Swim Club tied for eighth in the 200-meter breaststroke in 2:23.06 to force a swim-off with China’s Shi Jinglin to advance into finals. Jinglin won the swim-off, 2:23.75-2:25.11.
In championship finals:
Japan’s Natsumi Hoshi won her first world title in the 200-meter butterfly in 2:05.56, third-fastest time in the world. Hoshi teetered between third and fourth for most of the race until she surged down the final stretch. American Cammile Adams won her first world medal, taking second in a best time 2:06.40. China’s Zhang Yufei took the bronze in 2:06.51, also a best time bettering her own world junior record. American Katie McLaughlin, 18, finished sixth in 2:06.95, a new 17-18 U.S. national age group record.
China’s Fu Yuanhui won the gold medal in the 50-meter backstroke in 27.11. She came close to breaking the world record but bumped into the lane line at the finish. Brazilian Etiene Medeiros took the silber in 27.26, a Brazilian and South American record. China’s Liu Xiang took the bronze in 27.58.
South Florida Aquatic Club’s Alia Atkinson, three-time Jamaican Olympian, will go for her second medal when she competes in the 50-meter butterfly heats. SOFLO teammate Carolina Colorado of Colombia and Kenya’s Talisa Lanoe of PAQ will compete in the 200-meter backstroke heats.
Friday women’s events are: 50-meter butterfly heats and semifinals; 200-meter backstroke heats and semifinals; 800-meter freestyle heat; 100-meter freestyle final; and 200-meter breaststroke final.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com