Katie Ledecky of the USA reacts after her swim in the Womens 400m Freestyle Final at the Pan Pacific Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, on the Gold Coast, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014
Katie Ledecky of the USA reacts after her swim in the Womens 400m Freestyle Final at the Pan Pacific Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, on the Gold Coast, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 AAP Image - Dave Hunt

Ledecky takes gold in the 400m freestyle

KATIE Ledecky repairs bikes for charity in her spare time, and for a living, she smashes world records.

It was the 17-year-old American's evening at the Pan Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast, winning the women's 400m freestyle in 3:58.37 last night.

She blitzed the field, with her teammate Cierra Runge finishing second in 4:04.55, while New Zealand's Lauren Boyle (4:05.33) got bronze.

The young superstar was under world-record pace for much of the race at the outdoor pool, finishing strongly to shave almost a half-second off the mark of 3:58.86 she set at the US nationals last week.

"It's a great feeling. I knew I could be what I was at the nationals or a little better," Ledecky said.

"I'm not really affected by the rain.

"I have some long-term goals and I'm not quite there yet.

"I knew if I had have a good first 200, it'd be a good swim."

As well as being an ace in the pool - Ledecky was the youngest member of the entire US delegation at the 2012 London Olympics, winning gold in the 800m freestyle in her very first international and Olympic meet - she is well respected for her volunteer work.

Ledecky is a student volunteer for Bikes for the World, which collects and repairs bicycles and delivers them to developing nations.

She has also worked with the Help 2.0 project, which seeks to promote the construction of clean drinking water wells throughout the world.

It would be difficult at the least to juggle so many responsibilities, but Ledecky, still at high school, does it all with a smile on her face.

"I have great family support, and great friends," she said.

"They keep my life balanced. I'm just trying to enjoy everything I'm doing.

"I have one more year of high school."


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