Katie Ledecky breaks Olympic record to lead 800m freestyle field

Katie Ledecky

Katie Ledecky set an Olympic record of eight minutes, 12.86 seconds to lead the 800m freestyle field after the preliminary heats on Thursday afternoon. Ledecky, the defending Olympic champion in the event, set the record on her way to win the gold in London as a 15-year-old.

It was the only event she swam at the 2012 Olympics, but subsequently won it at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships.

Only the top eight swimmers advance directly to Friday’s final, and 400m freestyle bronze medalist Leah Smith will join U.S. teammate Ledecky in the final.

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