Back in the spotlight


RIO de JANEIRO — If, like most people, you last paid serious attention to Olympic-caliber swimming in London, when that Michael Phelps dude announced he was retiring, welcome back to the pool for your every-four-years dip, and just in time to catch the one and only race at these Games at which Katie Ledecky was always likely to take second instead of first.  

Katie Ledecky, right, with, from left, Simone Manuel, Abbey Weitzeil, Dana Vollmer after Sunday's women's 4x100 freestyle relay // Getty Images

In the final swim of the final event of the first day of swimming’s nine-day run here at the Rio 2016 Games, Ledecky anchored an American-record 3:31.89 in the women’s 4x100 meter freestyle. It took a world record 3:30.65 from the Australians, who were heavily favored, to win.

Even in second place, the legend of Katie Ledecky just keeps getting better and better. This was the first time Ledecky had ever — ever — raced the 4x100 relay for Team USA at an international level. The last time she swam in a 4x1 was in high school, she said afterward with a laugh.

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