Leah Smith Qualifies for Rio Olympics in 800m Free
July 2, 2016
OMAHA, Neb.-Virginia rising senior swimmer Leah Smith qualified for the Rio Olympics in the women’s 800-meter freestyle as UVA swimmers finished action at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Saturday (July 2) at CenturyLink Center in Omaha, Neb.
Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) finished second in the 800m free in 8:20.18, which ranks third in the world this year. Katie Ledecky, the defending Olympic gold medalist in the event, finished first in a time of 8:10.32. It is the third event Smith has qualified in for the Rio Olympics. Smith placed third in the 200m free to qualify for the 4x200m free relay and finished second in the 400m free to qualify for the individual event.
Smith will become the first Virginia American swimmer to compete in three events at the Olympics and the first Cavalier American to qualify for two individual events.
It will not be Smith’s first international experience. Smith was part of the gold-medal winning 4x200m free relay at the 2015 FINA World Championships and 2014 Pan Pacific Championships. She was also part of the winning relay, as well as the 400m free, at the 2015 World University Games.
For Virginia, Smith is a four-time NCAA Champion, winning the 500- and 1,650-yard freestyle events in both 2015 and 2016. She is an 11-time All-American and 10-time ACC Champion.
In semifinal action Saturday, rising junior Caitlin Cooper (Atlanta, Ga.) finished 15th overall in the women’s 50m free in a personal-best time of 25.42.