Swimming: Ledecky wins fourth gold as US win 4x200m relay

Missy Franklin, Leah Smith, Katie McLaughlin and Katie Ledecky celebrates their gold medal win.
Missy Franklin, Leah Smith, Katie McLaughlin and Katie Ledecky celebrates their gold medal win.AFP

KAZAN, Russia (AFP) - Katie Ledecky picked up her fourth gold medal at the world swimming championships on Thursday as the United States won the women's 4x200m freestyle title.

Ledecky, who anchored the US team, touched the wall in 7min 45.37sec as Italy took silver, 3.04sec back, with China earning bronze at 3.73.

The 18-year-old Ledecky had already won the 200, 400 and 1,500m freestyle golds in Kazan and still has the 800m heats to come on Friday morning with the final scheduled for Saturday night.

Ledecky, who holds the world records for the 400, 800 and 1,500m freestyle, has had an outstanding campaign in Kazan and has twice broken her own 1,500m record.

After Missy Franklin swam a strong first leg, Ledecky dived in with the United States slightly behind the Swedish team, but she put plenty of clear water between her team's rivals to win by a clear margin.

"It's great. I think we have won that relay for the last three World Championships," beamed Ledecky, who has only just graduated from high school in Maryland.

"We knew going into it that it was very important for us to get up and show what we can do.

"We had a blast out there. It was so much fun. Me and the other three girls we were so relaxed and just ready to go out there and show what we could do."