Ailing Ledecky returns to US relay at world championships

Katie Ledecky is returning to competition at the world championships on Thursday night, with the ailing American set to swim in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay final.

Ledecky’s return marks her first competition since preliminaries on Monday. The following day she withdrew from the 200 free heats and the 1,500 free final because of illness.

Her coach, Greg Meehan, said Ledecky was cleared by the U.S. medical staff.

“It’s a test, honestly,” he said. “We’re fortunate she’s feeling well enough to race.”

Meehan said Ledecky was bothered by dehydration and vomiting, symptoms that first began near the end of the U.S. team’s training camp in Singapore. She also wasn’t sleeping soundly.

“That’s a tough place to be for a couple of days and then when you add intense racing on top of that that kind of put her on this downward slope,” he said.

Meehan said Ledecky’s status for the 800 free on Friday would be evaluated after the relay. It’s her lone remaining event in the eight-day meet that ends Sunday.

She was set to swim the second leg of the 4×200 free relay, joining Simone Manuel, Melanie Margalis and Katie McLaughlin in the final.

Ledecky did an abbreviated practice in the pool on Wednesday to test her recovery.

“It wasn’t easy, but she handled it well enough,” Meehan said.

Ledecky was upset in the 400 free final on Sunday, earning a silver medal. She was the defending champion and fastest qualifier in the 1,500 free.

“The fact that she didn’t swim the 1,500, where it’s a medal for her and it’s likely a gold medal if things go well, I think is a good indication that it wasn’t about anything other than she was ill,” Meehan said.

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