Saturday, August 4, 2012

In the Swim

The hits keep on coming from the pool in olde London town.  Last night, Katie Ledecky, a fifteen-year-old swimmer from Bethesda, Maryland, raced in the women's 800-meter crawlstroke - er, freestyle against the favored British champion Rebecca Adlington.  Adlington, of course, won this event at the 2008 Olympics in Peking - er, Beijing, and she broke Janet Evans's world record in the process . . . with Evans herself, covering the 2008 Games for Yahoo, looking on.  But her American record still stood . . . until last night. Ledecky not only unexpectedly defeated Adlington for the gold, she broke Evans's U.S. record as well.  Whether Evans was in the London Aquatic Centre last night to witness the moment, I have no idea.  But Prince William and the Dutchess of Cambridge were there, having thought they'd see Adlington win another gold for Britain.  
At the end of the race, Adlington swam over to the young Marylander and said to her, "Amazing!", which I believe is British English for "What the f--- just happened?"  What happened was that Ledecky simply swam as fast as she could with nothing to lose . . . and everything to win.  Fun fact: She's the youngest member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team, including the women's gymnastics team members.
Meanwhile, history was made by a fellow Marylander of Ledecky's.  You may have heard of him . . . Michael Phelps. :-D  The Phelpster scored black jack last night, winning his twenty-first medal - a gold in the men's 100-meter butterfly, his third consecutive gold medal in that event (which, of course, no one else has pulled off) - and he's on tap to win a relay medal by swimming the butterfly segment tonight for the men's 4x100 individual medley relay.  Twenty-two medals in all.  Just twenty-two, and he don't mind retirin'.
It's become apparent that, twenty-four years later, you still can't talk about American women's distance swimming without mentioning Janet Evans.  But it's become even more apparent that you're not able to talk about swimming of any sort without mentioning Michael Phelps.
Never will be, either.
And, for that matter, you can't talk about American swimming without mentioning the great state of Maryland. :-D  Look for Katie Ledecky in 2016.
Look also for Debbie Phelps, who's going to Rio in four years whether her son retires or not. :-D

No comments: