Katie Ledecky is a swimmer on the verge of history.
Gold medals might just be the beginning for the 19-year-old swimmer, who is shattering world records.
Add Rio to her list. In the 400 meter freestyle, she not only crushed the competition, but she destroyed her own world record by over a second.
How badass was it? At times, her competitors—among the best swimmers in the world—were struggling to stay on the television screen.
Ledecky took home the gold for Team USA with a stunning time of 3:56.46, two seconds ahead of her own record pace. She was followed by Britain's Jazz Carlin at with what the Independent called a a “brilliant swim” of 4:01.23.
Fellow Olympian Leah Smith racked up another medal for Team USA with a Bronze Medal appearance.
The United States has moved into the lead in the medal count with 12 medals—three of them gold. Team USA now leads China, which has eight total medals. The men's relay in the 4x100, secured by a strong performance from Michael Phelps, took home yet another gold medal, along with teammates Caeleb Dressel, Anthony Ervin and anchor Nathan Adrian.
As noted by the blog FiveThirtyEight in an article “Katie Ledecky Is The Present And The Future Of Swimming,” there's “dominant” and then there's “dominant.” Katie Ledecky has shattered the world record on twelve separate occasions in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m freestyle events.
This is how much faster Ledecky is than the field:
Katie Ledecky has a chance to make Olympic history by bringing home even more gold for Team USA. Michael Phelps' Olympic records of 19 gold medals is safe, for now. But Ledecky can move closer to being considered in the same breath as her childhood idol.
“You can tell she is very goal-oriented, and for me it brought me back to kind of what I was like way, way, way back in the day,” 23-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps said, as reported by USA Today. “Every time she gets in the water, it’s like a world record. So she is improving so much and I think she is just trying to push that barrier, and I think it’s pretty exciting to watch her do that.”
Before the Rio Olympics, Ledecky made a list of what she wanted to accomplish: Destroy world records and take home four gold medals. The Olympic champion came a step closer to accomplishing just that with her electrifying performance in the 400 meter freestyle.
When talking with Ledecky, Matt Lauer told her: “I asked Michael Phelps what he thought of you. And he said 'STUD.'”