Ledecky, Mcintosh and an extraordinary preview of the race to Paris 2024
The legend and the future, which is already present. A world record on the one hand and two junior world records, on the other. An amazing head-to-head won by the youngest and the response of the multiple medalist. Katie Ledecky and Summer Mcintosh wrote at the Toronto World Cup (short pool) the prologue to a story that promises continuity in Fukuoka and Doha, and an unforgettable epilogue to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. And there are still more protagonists to come.
“I’m still in a bit of shock.” When – at 15 years old! – Ledecky won her first gold medal in London 2012 when she won the 800 meters, Mcintosh was turning six and figure skating (his sister, Brooke, is part of the Canadian national team) was still competing with swimming. Time went by, the water won the fight against ice, and the dream of competing against “an incredible swimmer” not only came true: she won.
She warned everyone at the Tokyo Olympics, where at the age of 14 finished one step away from the podium in the 400 freestyle; months later, at the World Short Pool Championship in Abu Dhabi, she won two medals (gold in 4×200 freestyle and silver in 400) and last year finished imposing her name on the world of swimming by winning four medals at the World Cup in Budapest, once again in the Olympic pool (gold in 200 butterflies and 400 combined; silver in 400 freestyle and bronze in 4×200 freestyle).
After an exciting finish, the clocks at the Toronto World Cup hit 3:52.80. “I would never have imagined this time,” Mcintosh acknowledged to her people. That record meant a new junior record (she also achieved it by winning all 400 combined in 4:21.49) and could have been the best record in history if China’s Bingjie Li didn’t win the Chinese National Championships with 3:51.30 hours earlier, shattering the world record held by Australian Ariarte Titmus (3:53 .92).
“Make an effort and try to keep up the pace to see how close I can be,” Mcintosh explained before this World Cup about what those first competitions were like with Ledecky, the great dominator of swimming in the long-distance events and who she escorted in the 400 freestyle at the World Cup in Budapest. In Toronto, not only did she keep up the pace, she didn’t just try to stay close, she surpassed it by eight hundredths and hit one of the biggest blows of the year. “I don’t think I have the mentality of being thrown into the air with knives at my feet,” she said about why the Canadian, who did choose to fly, did not choose to continue on the figure skate, but on the water.
Another world record for Katie Ledecky. A day after the heart-stopping 400 meters, the American swimmer had no opponents in the 1500 freestyle, who was running in a short pool for the first time. And not only did she win…
Ledecky, 25, won with a time of 15:08.24 and dropped by almost 10 seconds the world record for short pool held by Germany’s Sarah Wellbrock since 2019. The American also has the best historical record in the long pool, in this case with a record of 15:20 .48, while it also holds the world record in the 800 (this year, Titmus broke the 400 record).
Ledecky has accumulated 10 Olympic medals in her career, seven of those gold medals; in World Cups, since her debut in Barcelona 2013, the number has risen to 22 medals and of those 19 are gold medals, leaving her seven medals away from the historic 26 medals won by Michel Phelps (he has 33 medals in total).
For swimming, Paris 2024 will be the final point of a trip that promises more exciting stops along the way, such as the Fukuoka World Cups (2023) and Doha (2024). Long distance races are waiting for someone who might disturb Ledecky. The fight will be different in the 400′s, where there are more and more contenders for the crown.
La nota Ledecky, Mcintosh and an extraordinary preview of the race to Paris 2024 salió publicada en Infobae