Katie Ledecky took down Missy Franklin in the women’s 200 freestyle Thursday evening at the U.S. nationals in Irvine, California, and though both laughed and made all sweet about it because that’s how they are, and Franklin even danced on deck when the poolside announcer talked about the Backstreet Boys, this — when, years from now, they look back — may well be one of the Katie Ledecky signature moments.
Ledecky touched in 1:55.16, a full 1.24 ahead of Franklin. It was the second-fastest time in the world this year and, for Ledecky, a personal best. Which ought to give everyone pause, because Ledecky just turned 17 in March and has so far concentrated on the 400 and above. She simply has not raced the 200 much. As she learns the race, she probably will get a lot, lot faster.