Katie Ledecky breaks record in Olympic Trials finale, joined on team by Little Flower buddy

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Katie Ledecky broke the female record for most Olympic Trials wins. She’s joined on the team for Tokyo by an elementary schoolmate.

Ledecky made it four for four in victories to finish her work in Omaha, taking her signature event, the 800m freestyle, on Saturday night. She owns the 23 fastest times in history.

Ledecky clocked 8:14.62, not one of those top 23 times but still faster than any other active woman has swum. She was followed by 15-year-old Katie Grimes, 5.74 seconds behind. Grimes is the youngest U.S. Olympic swimmer since Ledecky in 2012.

It’s her eighth career Olympic Trials win, dating to 2012. She breaks a record she shared with Tracy Caulkins and Katie Hoff.

Michael Phelps holds the overall record with 16 victories, which Ledecky could approach if she swims through the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

“I haven’t been super happy with my times, but I still feel like I’m in a good spot,” Ledecky said on NBC.

SWIM TRIALS: Results | TV Schedule | Women’s Event Previews | Men’s Event Previews

Earlier, world-record holder Regan Smith finished third in the 200m backstroke, missing the team by one spot. Smith previously qualified in the 100m back and the 200m butterfly.

Instead, Rhyan White won in 2:05.73, 2.38 seconds slower than Smith’s world record, to qualify in both backstrokes. Phoebe Bacon, 18, finished second to clinch her first Olympic berth, .33 ahead of Smith.

Bacon went to the same elementary school as Ledecky — Little Flower School in Bethesda, Maryland. When Ledecky was in fourth grade, she was paired with a “little buddy” in pre-kindergarten. That was Bacon.

Bacon followed Ledecky to Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. Though Bacon didn’t matriculate at Ledecky’s Stanford, she did choose Ledecky’s former coach, Yuri Suguiyama, now the head coach at Wisconsin.

“[Ledecky] is always asking me about my swimming, and, of course, I’m always reading and watching about her swimming. I’m always asking her about hers,” Bacon, a rising sophomore in Madison, said last month. “She’s a really great person for me to look up to and a big help, I would say, for my swimming career.”

Also Saturday, Caeleb Dressel won for the second time in as many finals in the 100m butterfly. Dressel, the world-record holder and world champion, is joined on the team by Tom Shields, whose wife rescued him in 2018.

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Katie Ledecky breaks record in Olympic Trials finale, joined on team by Little Flower buddy originally appeared on NBCSports.com