OMAHA, Neb. - Missy Franklin finished swimming at the CenturyLink Center at 7:07 Saturday night. At 7:37, Katie Ledecky was in the water, taking over for good the pool that had belonged to Franklin four years ago.
In a sport ruled by times, 30 minutes provided a time passage through four years. The half-hour marked a transition from the era when Franklin was the leading figure in U.S. women’s swimming and its pre-Olympic designated star to the one when Ledecky is the leading figure in world women’s swimming and its pre-Olympic designated star.
Ledecky, 19, would cruise to victories in three freestyle races at these U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming, adding Saturday night’s win in the 800-meter freestyle to those in the 200 and 400.
Franklin, 21, had won two individual events and qualified for four in 2012. This time, she clawed her way on the team going to Rio by rallying for second-place finishes in the 200 backstroke and 200 freestyle.
She replaced dominance with desire, battling to reclaim part of what had seemed so easy to get the first time.
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