BARCELONA, Spain —
Grevers touched ahead of teammate David Plummer in the 100 backstroke, and there were Americans on the podium in all five finals. Conor Dwyer picked up a silver behind France’s Yannick Agnel in the 200 free, and Jessica Hardy chipped in with a bronze in the 100 breaststroke won by Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte.
The only disappointment for the U.S. was Ryan Lochte, who labored to a fourth-place finish in the 200 free.
“It wasn’t my night,” the three-time Olympian said. “But I have to put it behind me because I still have many races to swim.”
He hopes to compete in seven events in Barcelona, despite not being able to train as much as usual this year while taking part in his reality television show, “What Would Ryan Lochte Do?”
“It was kind of a tough swim for him,” Bowman said. “He has obviously not had a season with his characteristic preparation. But he’s racing tough. He’ll be back tomorrow. He’ll be fine.”
Ledecky is clearly in top form. She nearly broke the world record in winning the 400 free before leaving no doubt about the 1,500, touching in a time 15 minutes, 36.53 seconds — nearly a half-lap ahead of the line superimposed on the video screen marking the pace of Kate Ziegler’s mark from six years ago, 15:42.54.
“She’s probably made in the same factory as Michael Phelps,” marveled Mereia Belmonte of Spain, who finished far back in fourth.
Friis took silver in 15:38.88, with New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle grabbing the bronze.
“I knew that world record was going down tonight, but 6 seconds!” Franklin said. “All of us were totally in awe.”
Ledecky looks even stronger than she did last year while winning Olympic gold in the 800 free, a stunning breakthrough for someone barely known on the international stage.