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NEWS FEATURE Golden Ledecky has no problem in swimming alone into record books By Derek Wilson, dpa

Europe
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Katie Ledecky rewrote the record books again at the Rio Olympics and says she has no problem in ploughing a lone furrow, such is her dominance of the freelance discipline.

Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - American teenager Katie Ledecky is quite happy to swim by herself - which is a good job given how far ahead she is of the rest of the pack.

Four years ago Ledecky stunned the swimming world by winning Olympic gold as a 15-year-old at London but she‘s developed into by far the best women‘s distance freestyler in the world.

"I think every swimmer just focuses on their own race and that‘s when you race the best," Ledecky said after winning the women‘s 400-metre freestyle on Sunday, in a world record time of 3 minutes 56.46 seconds.

"I always just focus on my race, I‘m sure the others would say the same thing," she added.

Ledecky lowered her own record to further boost her dominance of the freestyle distance races - she is also the quickest in history over 800m and 1,500.

In truth the only questions to be answered in the race were whether Ledecky would break the record and would claim the silver and bronze medals. Ledecky was emphatic in answering her part, nearly 2 seconds under her previous mark.

"[The time of] 3:56 was the goal I set after [the] Barcelona 2013 [world championships]," she said. "So it feels really good. I‘m pumped."

Earlier in the heats Ledecky added the 400m free Olympic record to her collection after flirting with the world record until the final metres and coming up around four tenths short.

"I was so close to breaking it," she said of her first swim of the daay. "I felt good throughout. The swim was almost identical to this morning, but with a bit more pop on the last lap. It‘s pure happiness."

Whether Ledecky deliberately chose to ease up or was subconsciously holding off is both hard to say and completely irrelevant. She said her last stroke of that swim was "a little lackadaisical," but there was no sloppy finish in the final.

The 19-year-old Ledecky‘s brilliance is such that it is making elite athletes swimmers look second-rate behind her. She topped the heats by more than 4 seconds and won the final by nearly 5 seconds from Jazz Carlin, despite the Brit posting a personal best, and team-mate Leah Smith.

"I‘ve trained with her for the past month and the times she was putting up make me look like I was going to go five minutes," Smith said. "She is amazing and I knew she was going to get that time tonight."

Ledecky already had a relay silver from the 4x100m freestyle relay Saturday and this gold is the second of a likely total of five overall medals. The US are strong contenders in the 4x200m freestyle relay while it is almost unthinkable Ledecky won‘t retain the 800m crown.

That leaves the 200m freestyle in what will probably come down to a duel with Italian world record holder Federica Pellegrini and Sweden‘s butterfly gold medallist Sarah Sjostrom.

"She (Sjostrom) is a tough competitor and obviously swimming really well right now," Ledecky said. "There‘s a lot of people who‘ll be right there in that race."

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