American Katie Ledecky is kind of the Ronda Rousey of swimming. Don't get it? Ok, the Martina Navratilova of swimming. Fine. The Nadia Comaneci of swimming. The LeBron James of swimming. Still no? Whatever. Ledecky is like, really, really good at swimming. So much so, that today she swept the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 meter freestyle events at the 16th Fédération Internationale de Natation world championships—the first person to do so in a major international competition. Like a boss.
Ledecky rounded out her swimming equivalent of a triple crown by annihilating the previous world record for the 800 meters (16 laps) by 3.61 seconds—that's about 5 years in swimming time. The previous record holder? Her. In fact, Ledecky was so fast that she beat the silver medalist by 10 seconds. That's about 15 years in swimming time. She also holds all six of the top world records in the 800. Get at her.
United States national swimming team director Frank Busch feebly tried to make a comparison to Michael Phelps, but had difficulty trying to get his head around it. "I've seen Michael win eight medals in Beijing; that was hard-fought," Busch told The New York Times. "I'm sure he'd be the first one to say Katie's a freak. She's a freak of nature in what she's done, how she's been able to come off an event like the 1,500 and try to figure out how to finish off an event like the 200."
For those of you who don't know, swimming distances aren't too far off of running distances. It takes a very different kind of athlete to do short versus long. (Think of any time you've been told "this isn't a sprint; it's a marathon" by some sagely a-hole.) Ledecky isn't able to comprehend that there's a difference. She just doesn't get it. It's like she swims on a mobius strip. She just keeps going.