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1ST LEAD Ledecky makes history with latest WR; Phelps settles for silver By Derek Wilson, dpa

Europe
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Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - American prodigy Katie Ledecky won the women‘s 800-metre freestyle in Rio de Janeiro to match a record which stood for 48 years Friday but Michael Phelps had to settle for silver.

Ledecky was widely expected not only to win gold but do so in world record time and she did not disappoint. She obliterated her record from earlier this year by nearly two seconds to triumph in 8 minutes 4.79 seconds.

It means Ledecky has matched fellow American Debbie Meyer‘s feat of winning the 200m, 400m and 800m Olympic freestyles at the 1968 Games in Mexico City.

"I‘ve really looked up to Debbie and all the women‘s freestyle swimmers in the US team," she said. "We have a great history and I think we‘re making really great history this week and hopefully we‘ll inspire people thirty years down the road even when somebody‘s breaking my records."

But while Ledecky could celebrate, there were mixed feelings for Michael Phelps in what is likely his last individual Olympic race. Joseph Schooling won Singapore‘s first-ever swimming medal in the men‘s 100m butterfly in a Games record 50.39.

Phelps was pushed into silver, which he shared with both South African Chad le Clos and Hungary‘s Laszlo Cseh in 51.14

American veteran Anthony Ervin won the men‘s 50m freestyle 16 years after sharing the gold with compatriot Gary Hall Jr at Sydney 2000. At 35 he is now the oldest man to win an individual Olympic gold in this event.

And in the women‘s backstroke, Maya Dirado produced a fantastic finish to deny Hungarian Katinka Hosszu at the wall in the women‘s 200m backstroke.

19-year-old Ledecky claimed her fourth gold in Rio as she emphasised her dominance of the distance freestyle. She was 0.84 seconds under the world record mark after 100 metres and raced alone against the clock.

Every turn the crowd checked the world record splits and it quickly became apparent the record was certain.

Ledecky touched home 1.89 seconds better than her previous best for her second world record in Rio after the 400m.

The battle for silver was won by Jazz Carlin of Britain who took in 8:16.17, nearly 20 metres behind Ledecky, while bronze went to Boglarka Kapas of Hungary who was 2 tenths further off Carlin.

The victory makes Ledecky only the second woman to win the 200m, 400m and 800m Olympic titles at the same Games. She also holds the world 1,500m title, and world record, which is not an Olympic event.

"I‘m just so happy" Ledecky said. "I‘ve had a lot of fun this week, not only in the pool but with my team-mates and the memories mean more than the medals to me here."

Phelps was searching for a fifth gold of the Rio Games but was denied as Schooling swam brilliantly to win having led from the start.

"I‘m sorry if I don‘t seem like I‘m full of emotions but I don‘t know what to believe - that I actually did it or I‘m still preparing for my race," the 21-year-old Schooling said.

"I need to let this moment sink in, realise what I‘ve done and then I‘ll have a better understanding of what I accomplished."

Phelps turned in sixth and though he made his way through the field to second, could not complete the comeback and his 27th career Olympic medal came in a three-way tie for silver with old rivals Le Clos and Cseh.

The trio, who have had several duels over the years, stepped up to the podium with their hands joined.

In a typically frantic 50m freestyle sprint, Ervin won in 21.40 seconds, just 1 hundredth quicker than title holder Florent Manaudou. Another American, Nathan Adrian, took bronze.

"I kind of laughed. It‘s almost absurd I was able to do it again," Ervin said 16 years after his only other individual gold.

Hosszu was also robbed of a further victory as Dirado claimed a dramatic 200m backstroke gold. Hosszu seemed to have led for 199 metres of the race but could not find the final stroke in time.

"I didn‘t know who was going to get their hand on there first but I was just thrashing my body as hard as I could ... I can‘t believe I did it," Dirado said.

Dorado triumphed in 2:5.99 seconds with Hosszu 6 hundredths behind. Canada‘s Hilary Caldwell took bronze.

In the only semi-final of the night Pernille Blume of Denmark topped the list in the women‘s 50m with Brazil‘s Etiene Medeiros progressing seventh.

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