By Sharon Robb
TOKYO, Japan, August 9, 2018—Canadian teenager Taylor Ruck knocked off five-time Olympian champion Katie Ledecky on opening night of the Pan Pacific Championships at Tatsumi International Swimming Center.
Ruck, 18, won the 200-meter freestyle in a meet record 1:54.44 breaking Ledecky’s 2014 record by 1.3 seconds. Japan’s Rikako Ikee was second in 1:54.85 and Ledecky settled for third place in 1:55.15.
“I was nervous before the race,” Ruck told reporters. “It’s the name. She is the fastest woman on the planet in a lot of races. My coach saw I was nervous and told me to focus on my lane and my race.”
Ledecky lowered the meet record in the 200 prelims in 1:55.16 before Ruck broke it.
Earlier in the day, Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle in 8:09.13, fifth fastest time in the world and fifth time she dipped under 8:10.
“I knew it was going to be tough,” Ledecky said. “It’s a tough double. I’ve done it a number of times but it’s always a difficult thing. I really put in a lot of work into not having that happen again. But I still have two more years to go until the Big Show here in Tokyo.”
In other races:
American Olympic champion Lilly King won the 100-meter breaststroke in 1:05.44. King has not lost this event since 2015.
Other U.S winners were Jordan Wilimovsky in the 1500-meter freestyle in 14:46.93; Townley Haas in the 200-meter freestyle in 1:45.56 and Chase Kalisz in the 400-meter individual medley in 4:07.95.
Japan had two champions. Yasuhiro Koseki won the men’s 100-meter breaststroke in 59.08 and Yui Ohashi won the women’s 400-meter individual medley in 4:33.77.
Austrailia’s only win was in the mixed medley relay in 3:38.91 ahead of Japan and U.S. with Kathleen Baker, Michael Andrew, Simone Manuel and Caeleb Dressel.
The meet runs through Aug. 14 and features the following federations: Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Brazil, Canada, People’s Republic of China, Cook Islands, Colombia, Ecuador, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, New Zealand, Oman, Palau, Peru, Philippines, Thailand and the U.S.
ATKINSON HONORED IN JAMAICA
Four-time Olympian Alia Atkinson, 29, was among 171 Jamaicans honored recently with the Order of Distinction in the Rank of Commander. She joined Gracie Jones, Harry Belafonte and Winston Barnes among others. They were honored for their contributions and achievements on National Heroes Day. Atkinson was coming off the CAC Games where she won three gold and two bronze medals.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org