Swimming at the 2016 Summer Olympics – Women's 800 metre freestyle
|Women's 800 metre freestyle|
at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad
|Venue||Olympic Aquatics Stadium|
|Dates||11 August 2016 (heats)|
12 August 2016 (final)
|Competitors||30 from 21 nations|
|Winning time||8:04.79 WR|
U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky achieved a new world record to defend her Olympic title in this event and to successfully complete a distance freestyle treble at a single edition for the first time, since Debbie Meyer did so in 1968. Dominating the race from the start, Ledecky quickly dropped two seconds under a world-record pace, as she pulled further away from the field to overturn her own existing standard with a gold-medal time in 8:04.79. Separated from the leader by 11.38 seconds, Great Britain's Jazmin Carlin edged out the Hungarian challenger Boglárka Kapás at the final lap for her second silver of the meet in 8:16.17. Meanwhile, Kapás faded down the stretch to earn a bronze in 8:16.37, two tenths of a second short of Carlin's time.
London 2012 runner-up Mireia Belmonte slipped off the podium to fourth in a Spanish record of 8:18.55. Outside the 8:20 club, Australia's Jessica Ashwood (8:20.32) and Ledecky's teammate Leah Smith (8:20.95), bronze medalist in the 400 m freestyle, picked up the fifth and sixth spots respectively, finishing 63-hundredths of a second apart from each other. Denmark's Lotte Friis (8:24.50) and Germany's Sarah Köhler (8:27.75) rounded out the championship field.
Ledecky also overturned the existing Olympic record in 8:12.86 to top the field of twenty-seven swimmers in the prelims, taking 1.24 seconds off the standard set by Great Britain's Rebecca Adlington in a since-banned high-tech bodysuit in Beijing eight years earlier.
Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Katie Ledecky (USA)||8:06.68||Austin, United States||17 January 2016|
|Olympic record||Rebecca Adlington (GBR)||8:14.10||Beijing, China||16 August 2008|
The following records were broken during the competition:
|11 August||Heat 4||Katie Ledecky||United States||8:12.86||OR|
|12 August||Final||Katie Ledecky||United States||8:04.79||WR, OR|
|4||Katie Ledecky||United States||8:04.79||WR|
|3||Jazmin Carlin||Great Britain||8:16.17|
|6||6||Leah Smith||United States||8:20.95|
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