Swimming: Ledecky collects third world gold in 200m freestyle

Ledecky celebrates after winning in the women's 200m freestyle final.
Ledecky celebrates after winning in the women's 200m freestyle final.AFP

KAZAN, Russia (AFP) - Teenage sensation Katie Ledecky of the United States is on the verge of making history after claiming her third gold at the world swimming championships in the women’s 200m freestyle on Wednesday.

The 18-year-old, who has already claimed 400m and 1,500m freestyle golds, clocked 1min 55.16sec with Italy’s world record-holder Federica Pellegrini taking silver at 0.16sec for the second consecutive worlds.

Missy Franklin of the US, who had won the world title in Barcelona two years ago, earned bronze at 0.33sec.

Ledecky has become the star of the Kazan pool after twice breaking her own 1,500m freestyle world record and can become the first woman to scoop four freestyle medals at a world championships with just the 800m still to come.

The long-distance expert is the 800m world record-holder and was only competing in the 200m freestyle as an experiment at this level.

Having just finished high school, Ledecky already made history on Tuesday after swimming a world record of 15:24.48 in the 1,500m final – then qualifying from the 200m semi-finals under thirty minutes later.

“It was a lot easier than yesterday, my legs didn’t hurt as much,” admitted Ledecky after her 200m victory.

“I recovered well from yesterday and felt really good going into tonight’s final.

“I knew when I touched that I’d won, I was pretty confident that I got my hand on the wall first, but going into the race I knew it was going to be a battle.”

Ledecky is set to add to her haul when she defends her 800m freestyle title in Friday’s heats and could feature in the US team in Thursday’s 4x200m freestyle relay heats and final.