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15-year-old American Katie Ledecky takes gold in 800m freestyle

By Matt Norlander | Staff Writer
Katie Ledecky reacts to the scoreboard showing her gold medal-winning time at Friday's 800m final. (US Presswire)

Americans went three-for-three in first Friday medal events. The most surprising of the results was the third one, the 800-meter freestyle final.

American swim phenom Katie Ledecky become the youngest swimmer ever to win a gold medal, as her 8:14.63 finish clearly gave her first place. The length of the 800 lends itself to finishes that aren't as close as most other swims, but still, Ledecky was no given to medal -- let alone win -- so her dominant swim stands out.

"I just wanted to go out, controlled," Ledecky said to BBC television, adding that she's knocked off more than 20 seconds from her 800 time that was recorded last August.

Spain's Mireia Belmonte Garcia took the silver, a distance silver, touching in 8:18.76. The bronze went to the Brits' favorite, the defending Olympic champ, Rebecca Adlington. But Adlington was absolutely no match for Ledecky. She swam the 800 meters in 8:20.32. Some could say Adlington was overestimated in this race, but really, Ledecky's speed is much more the surprise.

"She swam absolutely incredible," Adlington said of Ledecky to the BBC.

Ledecky, who's got a future and at least two more Olympiads ahead of her, if she chooses, almost set a world with her impressive swim. Instead, a personal best and new American mark will have to do.

"I've really learned how to train hard and train fast," Ledecky said to the BBC. "This crowd was incredible here for Rebecca and I tried to calm myself. I was a lot less nervous swimming this race than I was swimming the prelims."

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