Ledecky seeks more than chance to defend four world titles

Katie Ledecky (Getty Images)
Katie Ledecky (Getty Images)

Chicago - Five-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky will try to qualify for five individual events at next month's World Championships when the US Swimming Championships begin Tuesday at Indianapolis, Indiana.

The 20-year-old superstar is entered in the 100-, 200-, 400-, 800- and 1,500-meter freestyle events in the five-day meet and is the top-seeded reigning world champion in all but the 100.

Ledecky captured 200, 400 and 800 freestyle Olympic gold last year in Rio, defending the 800 crown she won in London, and helped the US women's 4x200 relay win as well.

And with Michael Phelps having retired from competition with 23 Olympic titles and 28 medals plus 26 more world titles, Ledecky figures to be the American multi-event swim star for the next pool generation inspired by Phelps's feats.

Ledecky won the world 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle titles and shared in a 4x200 free relay win in 2013 in Barcelona, then followed up in Kazan in 2015 by defending those crowns and adding the 200 world title as well.

Now she seeks the opportunity to defend all those titles and takes her chances in the 100 freestyle as well in what could be a preview of her 2020 Tokyo Olympics effort.

The US meet schedule has Ledecky competing in the 100 and 800 on the opening day, the 200 on Wednesday, the 400 on Friday and the 1,500 on Saturday.

Ledecky is seeded sixth in the 100 with a seed time of 53.99 seconds, but those ahead of her include Rio 100 free co-champion Simone Manuel.

Ledecky is top seed in the 200 free at 1:53.73, .12 of a second off Allison Schmitt's American record from 2012.

And Ledecky owns world records in the 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyles, having set the 400 mark of 3:56.46 and the 800 record of 8:04.79 in 2016 gold-medal efforts at Rio.

She also holds the 1,500 world record of 15:25.48 from the 2015 worlds in Russia, although her seed time this week is only 15:35.65.

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