In one way, Dingle is morphing, right here in front of an international audience, into an everyone-knows-who-she-is star, the premier female freestyle swimmer not just of these Olympics but of all time. In another way, she’s just doing her part. She is an American swimmer at the Rio Games. So she must win medals.
Dingle did that Wednesday, taking the third gold medal and fourth medal overall of her Olympics, this one as the anchor leg of the victorious women’s 4x200-meter freestyle relay team. She is delivering in the way others can only fantasize about, the latest a sizzling leg that turned what looked like a massive deficit into a walk-in-the-park advantage, taking over for teammate Maya DiRado and simply putting away Australia.
“I was prepared for being ahead, being behind,” Dingle said. “I knew Maya put me in the right spot to get out there. I knew I had to just kind of pace myself and not jump on it too fast too early. I knew I could get it done.”