Katie Ledecky Qualifies for Tokyo Olympics with Dominant 400M Freestyle Win at Trials

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Katie Ledecky punched her ticket to the Tokyo Olympics by winning Monday’s 400-meter freestyle final at the U.S. Olympic team trials in Omaha, Nebraska.

This will be her third Olympics after competing in 2012 and 2016.

Swimming out of the fourth lane, Ledecky initially came off the blocks in third place before moving into first. As expected, she widened her lead as the race unfolded. At the halfway mark, she was 0.53 seconds off a world-record pace.

The Washington, D.C., native slowed up a bit with the victory well in hand and touched the wall at 4:01.27. By her incredibly high standards, it was a somewhat nondescript performance. Paige Madden placed second at 4:04.86.

Of course, simply qualifying for the Olympics was the goal Monday night, and she knocked that out of the park.

Ledecky swam her way into the final by posting the best time (4:03.07) during the preliminary heats.

This isn’t the last of Ledecky’s involvement in the trials. She’s looking to compete in the 200-, 800- and 1,500-meter individual freestyle events and also represent Team USA in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay.

The 24-year-old collected four gold medals during the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. Improving on that performance obviously won’t be easy, but she’s in a class by herself.

At least when it comes to the 400 meters, Ledecky is basically swimming against herself, so a successful defense of her 2016 gold will be the minimum expectation.

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