Team USA makes a splash in the pool

Swimming came to a close last night in the 2016 Rio Olympics with Team USA dominating in the pool.

Team USA has been off to a spectacular start in the first week of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Most notably, the women of the U.S. swimming team, especially Katie Ledecky, have set the bar high for future Olympians.

After setting a new Olympic record during the 400m freestyle heats, followed by a world record in the final, Ledecky was more determined than ever. The 19-year-old was already having the best swims of her career so far, proving race after race why she is one of the best athletes in the world.

During the 800m freestyle heats, Ledecky was at it again with a new Olympic record. As if two Olympic records and one world record werenโ€™t enough, the swimming phenom set a new world record in the final of the 800m the other night, with a time of 8:04.79. She shaved eight seconds off of her time from the heats to achieve her gold and world record in the final, an unbelievable feat as she continues to get faster and faster.

Not only did she earn her fourth gold medal of these Olympics, but also finished almost 11 seconds before the second place finisher. Ledecky became the first woman to sweep the 200, 400, and 800 freestyle races at the same Olympics since 1968. Whatโ€™s more astonishing is that she is the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic swimming.

Aside from Ledecky breaking records and swimming faster then ever, fellow Team USA swimmer Simone Manuel is making history while having the time of her life in Rio. At just 20-years-old, Manuel achieved something so historic that will never be taken away from her.

While she did tie for gold and set an Olympic record in the 100m freestyle, Manuel became the first African American female swimmer to win an Olympic gold. She has set a new standard for all swimmers out there, as the barriers of diversity are now broken in the pool. An inspiration to all, Manuelโ€™s accomplishment will go down as one of the greatest moments in Olympic history.

As swimming concluded last night, the U.S. swimmers will leave Rio as one of the most successful Olympics in history for the American women.

Check back daily at Athena Sports Net for more Rio news and results.

Taylor Vecchioni