Katie Ledecky wins gold again at National Championships; UF's Kieran Smith 2nd in 200 free

Special to Gator Sports
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Katie Ledecky continued her reign in the pool, winning the women's 200-meter freestyle for her second national championship in as many days while Kieran Smith found himself on the podium after taking second in the men's 200-meter freestyle during the second day of the Phillips 66 National Championships at Irvine, Calif.

Florida now has claims to three national titles this week after Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle and Natalie Hinds took gold in the 100-meter freestyle on Tuesday night.

Ledecky, a UF volunteer coach who's training for the 2024 Olympics with Gators coach Anthony Nesty, posted a time of 1:54.60, over a second and a half ahead of second place.

"I didn’t feel very sharp this morning so just wanted to try and turn it around," Ledecky told USA Swimming on Wednesday. "I went a lot faster than I kind of expected after this morning, so I’m really pleased with how that went.” 

First day:Natalie Hinds, Katie Ledecky win gold on opening night of swimming national championships

Great for Gators:Florida claims USA Today Network Southeastern Conference Women's All-Sports title

A trio of Gators competed in the women's 200-meter freestyle B-final between Hinds, Kathleen Golding, and Ekaterina Nikonova. Hinds finished second with a 1:59.82, Golding took fifth at 2:00.49, and Nikonova touched the wall in 2:01.07 to take eighth in the consolation final.

Kieran Smith swam a 1:46.32 in the men's 200-meter freestyle, missing gold by just .18 seconds. Jake Mitchell stormed back during the final 50-meter stretch to secure a fifth place finish.

Rosie Zavaros climbed two spots from the prelims to the 200-meter A final, finishing sixth with a time of 2:11.42. In the 200-meter breast B-final, Dillon Hillis and Kevin Vargas went two-three, each shaving time off their prelim swims with Hillis finishing 2:12.51 and Vargas at 2:13.12.

Ledecky is in California coming off a big showing at the ESPY awards last week when she won awards for Best Athlete in Female Sports and the Best Olympian in Women’s Sports. UF's Caeleb Dressel was recognized as the Best Olympian in Men’s Sports.

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