Ledecky rockets to gold in 400m freestyle

BARCELONA Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:22pm EDT

1 of 5. Katie Ledecky of the U.S. celebrates after winning the women's 400m freestyle final during the World Swimming Championships at the Sant Jordi arena in Barcelona July 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Albert Gea

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BARCELONA (Reuters) - American teenager Katie Ledecky stormed to gold in the 400 meters freestyle at the world championships in Barcelona on Sunday, becoming only the second woman after Italy's Federica Pellegrini to break four minutes.

The 16-year-old Ledecky, gold medalist at 800 meters at last year's London Olympics, was on course to break Pellegrini's world record of 3:59.15 but slipped off the pace in the final 100 meters to finish in a still-blistering time of 3:59.82.

Spain's Melanie Costa Schmid lifted the home support inside the hilltop Palau Sant Jordi by taking silver in 4:02.47 and Lauren Boyle of New Zealand was third in 4:03.89.

Olympic champion Camille Muffat of France finished a disappointing seventh.

(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Toby Davis)

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