After a solid start to the worlds, Ledecky took the lead on the first day, earning silver in the women’s 200 meter backstroke. In the 200 meter backstroke, Ledecky was joined by fellow athlete Phoebe Bacon, who went to Stone Ridge High School in Bethesda, Maryland. Bacon also swam in the mixed 4×100 freestyle relay, giving Arlington’s Torr Huske her fifth medal of the meet.
The eight-time world champion dominated the day’s finals, winning her fourth gold medal in Budapest. This marks her 19th gold medal of all-time at the world championships and moved her into second place on the all-time gold list. With Ledecky’s 800 freestyle gold, she has now won the same event at five worlds in a row.
The U.S. women’s four-woman medley relay is another promising American team. The four-person team won its group’s second match by a wide margin. In the event’s final match, the Americans will meet perennial powerhouse South Africa. The U.S. team has a good chance of making it to the quarterfinals. Ledecky’s performance is also inspiring. With a full roster of Olympic medalists, the U.S. will look for a repeat of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Claire Curzan swam on four relays. She consistently threw 52-point freestyle anchors on every relay. In addition to the four relays, she had sixteen individual swims. The two women were the biggest contributors to the U.S. team’s relay successes. There are eight gold medals in total.
The Americans have dominated swimming since 1988, but this year the Russians were banned because of the conflict in the Ukraine. Other countries likewise missed the event due to injury and COVID concerns. This made the Americans look even better in the worlds than they did last time. They led the way and are looking for a repeat. They will not be able to stop there, though.
Team USA improved to 2-0 with a 5-0 win over the Russian Olympic Committee. Hilary Knight, meanwhile, moved into fourth place on the all-time list with 20 points. With a goal and an assist in the first day of the world championships, Knight is just three points behind third place. She will also help Team USA take a gold medal in the 800 meter freestyle relay.
In addition to Ledecky, Phoebe Bacon and Katie Ledecky competed together in high school. Bacon swam in the same club as Ledecky. However, she specialized in the backstroke rather than the freestyle. In Tokyo, she finished fifth in the 200 m backstroke final. The 200 m backstroke will be one of the final events on day two.
Earlier in the day, Nishiya and Rayssa Leal made the U.S. women’s team final a day early. They finished behind Russia, but the rematch against Japan will have a clean slate. Ledecky’s performance is infused with generational cross currents, as Alexis Sablone and the other girls her age swept the world championships.