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NEWS FEATURE Ledecky reveals good wishes from Meyer ahead of historic treble By Derek Wilson, dpa

Europe
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Katie Ledecky was already a swimming great aged 19 but in Rio de Janeiro Friday she added another chapter to her young legend.

Rio de Janeiro (dpa) - Swimming superstar Katie Ledecky revealed Debbie Meyer sent her a good luck video before the Rio Games where she matched Meyer‘s 48-year standing feat of a freestyle distance treble.

On Friday Ledecky won the 800-metres to complete the third and final leg of the Olympic freestyle triple after 200m and 400m to become only the second woman in history to do so - after Meyer in Mexico City in 1968.

"She (Meyer) has actually been texting back and forth with my mum a little bit and she sent a good luck video to my mum who forwarded it on to me," Ledecky said. "I saw it right before I left for the session tonight so I‘m just so proud to be a part of that history.

"I‘ve really looked up to Debbie and all the women‘s freestyle swimmers in the US team.

"We have a great history and I think we‘re making really great history this week and hopefully we‘ll inspire people 30 years down the road even when somebody‘s breaking my records."

Ledecky‘s records now make her the undisputed queen of the distance freestyle. Her Olympic treble comes after a trio of individual golds at the 2015 Kazan worlds in 400m, 800m and 1,500m, which is not an Olympic distance.

She held all three world records from 400m up going into Rio and further reduced the 400m and 800m - racing alone against the clock as no one else could compete with her.

Friday‘s effort carved nearly 2 seconds off the 800m mark to 8 minutes 4.79 seconds and was no less than what she expected.

"The goal was 8:05 or better so I hit all my goals right on the nose this week and I think that‘s just a testament to the vision that (coach) Bruce (Gemmell) and I had three years ago. We set those goals and we weren‘t going to stop until we met them."

Ledecky will rightly look to enjoy her success but things can change quickly in swimming. She may remember team-mate Missy Franklin who collected four golds at London 2012 but endured a torrid time in Rio.

"It is really bittersweet," Franklin said after failing to reach the 200-metre backstroke final, a title she was defending. "This has been the hardest week of my entire life. It is a relief that it‘s over."

And Ledecky, who is still an amateur rather than a professional, is aware that her life will change as she begins her university career and changes coach.

She fought back tears, not always successfully, as she thanked Jenner and all those who had supported her since she broke onto the scene in London by winning the 800m free as a 15-year-old.

But yet, amidst the uncertainty, there is still the confidence she can go faster still.

"I hope so," she said. It‘s hard to look beyond this week yet but I know once I get to Stanford (University) and start up there, I‘ll sit down with (United States coach) Greg (Meehan) and set some new goals and see what we can accomplish from here."

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