Leah Smith Wins Second World Title in Two Days
Dec. 9, 2016
WINDSOR, Ontario–Virginia senior swimmer Leah Smith won the 400-meter freestyle for her second gold medal in two days at the 2016 FINA Short Course World Championships Friday night (Dec. 9) at the Family Aquatic Complex in Windsor, Ontario.
Smith (Pittsburgh, Pa.) touched first in the 400m free in a personal-best time of 3:57.78, which makes her the third-fastest American in the event all-time, behind Allison Schmidt (3:55.89) and Katie Hoff (3:57.07). Smith had less than a half second lead over Russia’s Veronika Popova for almost the entire race, but pulled away in the last 50 meters to pick up the win. Popova finished second in 3:58.90, while Chihiro Igarashi of Japan earned bronze in 3:59.41.
The Cavaliers senior won the 800m free on Thursday in a time of 8:10.17 after breaking the American record in the event in the prelims on Wednesday (8:07.67). She finished seventh in the 200m free on Tuesday evening in a personal-best time of 1:54.49.
It is Smith’s second individual senior international gold medal and sixth senior international medal overall. The Cavalier senior won Olympic gold with the U.S. 4x200m free relay and bronze in the 400m free at the Rio Olympics. It is Smith’s third world championship title after earning gold with the 4x200m free relay at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. Smith also won gold with the same relay at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia.
At 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.
Smith will compete with the U.S. 4x200m free relay Saturday.