Ledecky edges Franklin for 200m free title at US Swimming Championships
Katie Ledecky swims in the women's 200m freestyle preliminaries during the 2014 Phillips 66 National Championships, at the Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine, California, on August 7, 2014 - by Harry How
Ledecky on Thursday clocked 1min 55.16secs to add the gold to the 800m free title she earned Wednesday. Only Sweden's Sarah Sjostrom at 1:55.04 has gone faster this year.
The 17-year-old lowered her own world records in the 800m and 1,500m free in June, but with her performance on Thursday -- starting with a 1:55.75 in the morning heats -- she backed up her opinion that she is an all-around freestyle specialist rather than just a distance star.
Franklin, a four-time Olympic gold medalist who claimed the 200m free as part of a six-gold haul at the world championships last year, had no answer when Ledecky powered home on the final lap, taking second in 1:56.40.
Leah Smith in 1:57.57 and Shannon Vreeland in 1:57.73 rounded out the top four, who all booked berths for the Pan Pacific Championships August 21-25 in Gold Coast, Australia.
Results at this week's meet and the PanPacs will determine the US team for the 2015 World Championships in Russia.
Ledecky said the chance to compete for the US internationally in the 4x200m free relay was the main reason she set her sights on the 200m.
"That's the biggest motivation, that's why I started to focus more and more on the 200," Ledecky said.
Racing Franklin, she said, was an added benefit.
"I was trying to think how many times I've gotten to race her, it's probably only four or five times," said Ledecky, who traded compliments with Franklin after the race.
"Watching Katie in the 800m and 1500m is a treat for everyone," Franklin said. "But to be able to race her in the 200m is awesome."
Ledecky said Franklin's praise "means a lot to me".
"Missy is such a great person, so fun to be around and obviously a great swimmer."