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Katie Ledecky on world records, Rio — and her 1998 TODAY visit as a tot

Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky talks about her incredible performance at the World Championships, the 2016 Olympics and her first visit to TODAY.
/ Source: TODAY

Katie Ledecky has set the bar as high as it can go in the swimming world with a year still to go before the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but she isn't worried about peaking too early.

"I don't think about that at all,'' the teenage phenom told TODAY's Matt Lauer on Thursday. "I'm just trying to maintain the same mindset I had going into (the) 2012 (Olympics) which is just whatever happens, happens."

Ledecky, 18, also revealed that she's no stranger to being on TODAY, except now she's on the other side of the fence. In advance of her appearance, she posted a Throwback Thursday photo on Instagram of her as a toddler in 1998 with her older brother and mom standing behind the gate on Rockefeller Plaza.

"We were visiting my grandmother in New York, and had to go to the TODAY Show,'' she said. "I think we actually got on TV with Al (Roker) at one point."

Ledecky turned in the most dominant performance by a swimmer of either gender in the history of the World Swimming Championships earlier this month when she became the first swimmer in the history of the meet to win freestyle races at 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 meters. Not only did she win four golds in the pool in Kazan, Russia, she also broke her own world records in the 800 and 1,500. In nine races at the World Championships in her career, the Bethesda, Maryland, native has nine gold medals.

"It feels pretty special because it's not just every day you can say you've done something nobody's done before,'' she said. "I've kind of been enjoying it, but then also at the same time looking forward to this next year."

In the last two years, Ledecky has broken 10 world records, building on the momentum of winning gold in the 800-meter freestyle at the 2012 Olympics in London at only 15 years old. Ledecky, who graduated from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in June as a high honors student, has been accepted at Stanford University, where she will compete after the 2016 Olympics.

Follow writer Scott Stump on Twitter and Google+.