NEW YORK -- When American swimming sensation Katie Ledecky added to her climbing total of career visits to NBCs Today show Monday -- this time to talk about how life has changed since she set two world records and won five medals at the Rio Summer Olympics, four of them gold -- she smiled and squirmed in her seat as the five hosts on the set took turns good-naturedly kidding her about her record-shattering start to her freshman year at Stanford University this fall.It already has included a 65-second rout in a 1,650-yard college invitational race Sunday in which Ledecky ... um ... beat the runner-up by four laps.Sooo, that basically means you get out of the pool, have coffee and a donut, and wait for everyone else to finish? TV host Savannah Guthrie needled.When the 19-year-old Ledecky was too polite or sheepish to parry back, the segment only got funnier.Wait -- she broke another record in just the last 20 seconds! Guthrie added.And on the way to the event tonight, shes going to break another record! Matt Lauer boomed, causing Ledecky to shake her head and blush again.Ledecky was in New York with 40 of her Olympic medal-winning teammates for USA Swimmings annual Golden Goggles Awards on Monday night, a black-tie year-end benefit that recognizes the U.S. teams best performances each year. Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Libby King and Maya DiRado were among the others who attended. Ryan Lochte did not.Ledecky has replaced Phelps as the most riveting figure in U.S. swimming. But as scintillating as her first three months at Stanford have been -- starting with the fact she set an NCAA or American record in every race she swam through Nov. 15 -- there was another woman sharing the red carpet with her at the Marriott Marquis hotel who was also impossible to ignore.That was Stanford teammate Simone Manuel, the first female African-American swimmer to win an individual event at an Olympic Games and, as of last weekend, the first person anywhere to beat the amazing Ledecky in her last 74 finals in a race above 100 meters.Manuel, a junior, defeated Ledecky on Saturday in the 200-yard freestyle during an invitational at Ohio State, clipping Ledecky by .26 of a second.No, I didnt know the [length of the streak], a surprised Ledecky said, grinning as if even she found it cool.I didnt know it, either, but its not like Im out of the park yet, Manuel joked, speaking a little further down the red carpet from where Ledecky was taking questions. I still have to race her every day in practice, at nationals, at NCAAs.Manuel was right. Its just a start. But dont overlook the significance of their head-to-head battles; their races should be fascinating -- maybe even transformative -- for both swimmers.With 10 Olympic medals already won between them, the 20-year-old Manuel and Ledecky could anchor the U.S. swim team for a few Olympics to come.I know I definitely want more, Manuel said.The idea of Ledecky, especially, finally having anything close to a true rival -- another female swimmer who can push her and beat her while training on the same team and sometimes in the same lane day in and day out, sets up an interesting dynamic for both women as they slowly start looking ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Games.I dont look at it like shes a frenemy, Ledecky laughed, pointing out she and Manuel were roommates in Rio, and have been roommates for four years at international meets, so were good buddies.We both love to race and we both love to compete. We race all the time in practice and Simone beats me at least a couple times a week [in sprints]. So its a great environment every day. And I dont consider it a loss when its my teammate thats beating me, anyway. Were both racing our hardest for Stanford and excited about what could follow.Ledeckys coaches are always looking for fresh challenges to throw her way. Shes been so peerless at the distance events for so long, there is talk now about dropping her down to the 100-meter free (Manuels gold-medal individual event in Rio), and maybe adding the 400 individual medley to the 200, 400, 800 and 1,600 events and world records she currently owns.Many argue Ledecky -- not LeBron James, Usain Bolt, Lionel Messi or anyone else you can name -- is the most dominant athlete in the world today. Its only news now when she doesnt win.Manuel shoulders a different set of challenges. Though she also won the gold in the 4x100 medley relay and silver in the 50 free and 4x100 freestyle relay in Rio, she said in the past that trying to become the first African-American to win any Olympic swimming medal was difficult for her at times, as if so much history weighed on every stroke. She was expansive on the topic in Rio, paying homage to groundbreakers that came before her and embracing a chance to weigh in on matters like police violence against African-Americans back in the United States.But Monday, she pulled back on the non-swimming topics a little.When an African-American reporter told Manuel shes now an icon and inspiration to their community and asked what kind of legacy she wants to leave outside the pool, Manuel said, Well, Im just 20 years old, so I havent really thought about the legacy I want to leave. I guess just making sure that people go after their dreams. That they can do anything.Later, Manuel admitted one of the many reasons she and Ledecky feel a kinship is because of the continuing expectation on them to do the extraordinary.We keep each other from thinking too much about the pressure of our races, Manuel said.She only smiled and said, Nah, when asked if she has ever been tempted to tell Ledecky to quit trying to have it all already, stick to the distance events, and leave the 100 or 200 freestyle to her. But then she did quickly add she does give Ledecky some mess about being a freshman.Ledecky already has taken much flak about getting lost on the Stanford campus, putting her swim cap on wrong, having some misadventures on the bicycle she uses to get around, and sometimes screwing up chores like putting the lane markers in the pool for team practices.The freshmen also have to bring up the towels, but they do that in shifts, so Katie knows when she has to do it, Manuel explained.The Great Katie Ledecky? 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RIO DE JANEIRO -- It was a Dutch sweep at Copacabana.Their first Olympic gold in open water swimming was never in doubt.The second one took a few minutes to sort out.Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands beat Greeces Spiros Gianniotis in a photo finish Tuesday off one of the worlds most iconic beaches, a frenetic finish to a 10-kilometer marathon that was in striking contrast to Sharon van Rouwendaals dominating victory the previous day.While the womens race was decided by a whopping 17.4 seconds, a pack of mens swimmers led by Gianniotis powered into the finish chute stroke for stroke as hundreds of cheering, swimsuit-clad fans ran along the beach to watch the ending.The medals were in doubt until the very end -- and even for a bit longer after that, as the officials tried to sort things out.Gianniotis appeared to go under the finish line first, but he had to reach back to grab the timing pad. Weertman got his hand on the pad a split-second ahead of the Greek swimmer -- a finish so close they were both credited with the same time, 1 hour, 52 minutes, 59.8 seconds.Even after I touched the wall, I wasnt sure Id won, Weertman said. It took me a while. I called my friends back home and they said, `You won, you won! and Im like, `Oh really? I couldnt believe it. I still cant believe it.The 36-year-old Gianniotis missed a chance to give Greece its first swimming gold since the inaugural Summer Olympics in 1896. He has competed in all three open water events since the sport was added to the Olympic program in 2008, but this was his first medal.It was also the final event of his career.Every single meter of the training, every single day and hour, its just come down to the perfect moment, Gianniotis said. I think thats a really good way to go.The bronze went to Frances Marc-Antoine Olivier, who out-touched Chinas Lijun Zu in another result that required a photo to sort out. Britains Jack Burnell was right in the mix, as well, but he wound up being disqualified for a tussle with defending Olympic champion Ous Mellouli just a few meters from the line.It was the second day in a row that a potential medal was stripped away because of rough tactics in the chute. On Monday, Frances Aurelie Muller lost the silver when she collided with Italys Rachele Bruni right at the finish. This time, the ruling went Frances way.Its only when I got into the booat that I knew my position, Olivier said.dddddddddddd Then I started crying.Burnell ripped the judges, who had earlier issued him a yellow card at a time when he insisted no other swimmers were even around him.Weve trained for four years, put a lot of hard work into this. This is the pinnacle of our sport, the Olympic Games, and its ruined by a couple of judges who want to stick their noses in just because they want something to do, Burnell said. Just let the guys race.American Jordan Wilimovsky was fifth. He briefly had the lead on the final lap, but got stuck in the middle of a pack of swimmers and finished 3.4 seconds behind.Its just the nature of the event, Wilimovsky said. It comes down to touch finishes sometimes. Congrats to the guys that did really well. It was a really tough race.Trying to duplicate Van Rouwendaals strategy, Australias Jarrod Poort broke away from the pack in the early going, building a huge lead of more than a minute at the midway point.He couldnt hold on, getting passed on the last of four laps around the bay and finishing 20th.Mellouli, in what was likely his final Olympic race, settled for 12th.Once again, there were no complaints about the water quality at Copacabana, which was the subject of much scrutiny in the lead-up to the games after an Associated Press report that found potential health risks caused by the dumping of raw sewage into the waters around Rio.It was great, Wilimovsky said. I didnt notice anything wrong or anything bad. It was really nice. The water temperature was really good. It was just fun to be out there.Another American swimmer, Sean Ryan, took antibiotics and probiotics to ward off any potential health risks.I did as much as I could to prevent illness, Ryan said. Well see what happens in the next two weeks. We may be playing roulette with it, but we prepared as well as we could.Ryan said it seemed like any other normal ocean race, which calm conditions off the hotel-lined beach making things easier for the competitors.Your mouth feels all funky afterward, he said with a smile, like a normal salt water race.---Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry . ' ' '