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  • 30 Aug
    Katie Ledecky broke the 1,650-yard NCAA freestyle record by 20 seconds and her own American record by 10 seconds on Sunday, according to nbcsports.com.At an Ohio State meet, the Stanford freshman traveled 66 lengths of the pool in 15:03.92. The runner-up finished in 16:04.25 and still needed to complete four full lengths of the pool when Ledecky completed her swim.Ledeckys time was so good that it could have placed third in the mens 1,650-yard freestyle, which came right after her event in Columbus. She also broke another NCAA record in that event with her 1,000-yard split time, a time she had set in her third college meet in early November.Ledeckys record swims came one day after she took her first loss in a freestyle final longer than 100 meters since 2014, as she lost to fellow U.S. Olympic champion Simone Manuel in the 200-yard freestyle by .26 of a second, according to nbcsports.com.After winning four gold medals at the Rio Olympics, Ledecky has since smashed NCAA records in three freestyle events (500, 1,000 and 1,650 yards) in her first four meets as a member of the Stanford swim team.At Rio in August, no one was more dominant than the 19-year-old Ledecky, whose four golds included two world record-shattering performances.She became the first woman since 1968 to win the 200, 400 and 800 free and joined Amy Van Dyken and Missy Franklin as the only American women to capture as many as four golds in a single Games.? 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Emotion must give way to action for the Western Bulldogs on Saturday, as they seek to win a second AFL premiership in their history by ensuring they are not blown away early by the famously ferocious starts of the Sydney Swans.Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge and acting captain Easton Wood both admitted they were trying to keep emotions and mental energy under control in the 24 hours before the clubs first grand final since 1961, mindful that the wave the club has ridden over the past three weeks must be sustained for another 120 minutes.So much has been written and said about Bulldogs dreams this week. The club president Peter Gordon once offered his fantasy of a premiership right down to the last detail, and the injured club captain Robert Murphy has also shared his visions of walking the premiership cup through the streets of Melbourne and back to Footscray for the first time since 1954.But Wood and Beveridge have been left to try to separate dream from reality, with the hard task of countering the Swans now at the forefront of their minds.I havent played the game in my head yet, Wood said before the grand final parade. I reckon if I had done that a few times, I would be too tired by the time I actually got there. Obviously there is massive excitement but you take each moment as it comes and soak it up when it is out there.Beveridge said he was seeking to have as quiet a night as possible before the game.I will steer clear of the alcohol but I will go home, just put some final things down in preparation for messaging tomorrow. Ill relax, Beveridge said. It has been a busy week as well off the field, not only for me, but for the people who support the players, so we will find some time to chill out, like the players will, and come in here tomorrow with a clear head.It is exciting that we can possibly put the second cup in the cabinet. There is a bit of room. But there is no weight there. It is more exciting.We are looking forward to that challenge and, if anything, we have got a couple of gorillas off our back, winning our first final together was a great milestone against the Eagles and the last two finals have been significant, but this is obviously extremely unique and we have got to keep it on an even keel emotionally, but there is no doubt it is exciting, the prospect of being able to take this [the cup] home.Clear heads will be of most importance in the early minutes after the opening bounce. Sydney have more or less decided their past two finals against Adelaide and Geelong with formidable bursts of ball-winning and scoring inside the first quarter. This is not only significant for the Swans, but it is also the way recent grand finals have largely been won. In each of the past three years, Hawthorn supporters were just about ready to celebrate their latest flag when the quarter-time siren blew.They get out of the gates quickly, no doubt, but we do too. We just dont kick goals, Beveridge quipped. We are a pretty strong starter .dddddddddddd.. but unfortunately we have ben a bit wasteful the last three games. I think both teams start well, but the Swans have had some really emphatic starts in recent times, but it would be pretty disappointing if you are in a grand final and you are not ready for that first bounce.I think both teams will come at each other pretty hard. That is the old throwaway but to the players credit, even though they have been wasteful, they dont lose their focus. We have had teams come at us and be up - the Hawks did that - but we have stayed composed enough, so if it happens again, we have just got to keep our heads and fight our way back into it.We always love to have a great start and be effective and efficient early, and that is the plan, but we have to pull it off. If we dont, we have to go to plan B.Sydney coach John Longmire is mentoring a team with much the better premiership pedigree. This is the Swans third grand final in five seasons, and finals experience has often been cited as a major asset. But Longmire is nothing if not thorough, and he was sure to guard against any notion that the Swans simply need to show up and point to their recent visits to the MCG on grand final day to overawe the Dogs.I dont subscribe to that, he said. I think once the ball bounces, it is about who executes their plan the best, for the longest. That is the challenge.Both teams go in with enormous faith with each others systems and both teams go in in really good form. We lost the first one and then won the last two and if you have a look at the Doggies finals form, to be able to beat West Coast over there and Hawthorn and GWS up there is outstanding.That recent form is what we look at. That carries more weight going into the game. In the end, it is about when the ball bounces, who is able to sustain what they like to do the longest.In their one meeting this year, the Bulldogs were victorious by the slimmest of margins, when Jason Johannisen was able to kick truly at the SCG to put the visitors in front with scarcely five seconds left on the clock. That victory and the manner of it will help sustain Beveridge and his players on Saturday, though he admitted to hoping not to be as nerve-wracked this time around.They havent been daunted by the challenge or the prospect of taking on genuinely the best teams in the competition, Beveridge said. As it turns out, we didnt beat Geelong this year, but they are no longer in it. I think the players feel good about the fact they have been able to beat 16 other sides and they know that they deserve their place tomorrow.But we saw what happened at the end of our game against the Swans ... and obviously John and I were on the edge of our seats in the box, but you hope if you can pull it off tomorrow, it is not as tight as that. ' ' '