Sports

Ledecky gains gold and another world record at Worlds

 

Future Stanford swimmer Katie Ledecky did it again Tuesday.

One day after lowering her own world record in the 1,500 meter freestyle prelims, she set a lower standard, establishing a world record in finishing the event's final in 15:25.48 for her second gold medal of the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Ledecky, who signed a National Letter of Intent with Stanford and plans to attend following the 2016 Olympic Games, owns the top five times in history. She has eclipsed the 1,500 world record five times in the last two years, giving her nine world-record performances in that span.

No other swimmer in the field stood a chance in the 1,500. Ledecky had to wait nearly 15 seconds after finishing for New Zealand's Lauren Boyle (15:40.14) to come in second and another six-plus seconds for bronze medalist Boglarka Kapas of Hungary (15:47.09) to touch. The fastest non-Ledecky swim of all-time (Lotte Friis, 15:38.88 in 2013) would have been 13 seconds back of Ledecky.

"To be honest, it did feel pretty easy," Ledecky said. "I wasn't kicking much. I think breaking that record is just a testament to the work I've put in and the shape that I'm in right now that I was able to do that. I'm in quite a bit of shock."

It was a rigorous day for the Olympic gold medalist. She swam the 200 meter freestyle prelims in the morning and then the semifinals just minutes after completing the 1,500 final in the evening session.

"Today was a really tough day for me. I knew I was going to have this double today, and I knew that I was prepared for it," Ledecky said. "After the 150, I was able to get right to the warm-down pool. I probably did about 700 warm-down, and then I got out of the pool and put my parka on and went to the ready room for the 200."

She was the top qualifier in the prelims (1:55.82) before placing sixth in the semis (1:56.76) to earn a spot in Wednesday's final.

Ledecky was behind the pack in the beginning of her 200 semifinal. She hit the 150-meter mark at 1:27.43 and then turned it on for 29.33 over the final 50 meters to finish third in the heat and the final's sixth seed.

"Yes, it did hurt a lot, but I got the job done," Ledecky said. "It feels really, really good right now. It was a little tougher than I was hoping it would be. You never know how everything is going to play out. The 200 field was really strong, and there were some really fast times posted in the first heat, and my heat was really fast. I was getting pretty nervous halfway through that race."

Federica Pellegrini of Italy (1:56.23) and Team USA's Missy Franklin (1:56.37) went 1-2. Only Pellegrini had a quicker final 50 split (29.30) than Ledecky.

Ledecky will get a shot at her first 200 free World Championships medal. She bypassed the event in 2013, avoiding the tough double as a 16-year old to focus on winning the 400, 800 and 1,500.

Ledecky will have a much needed morning off Wednesday before the 200 final. The 18-year old has already won two golds this year to total six World Championship golds for her career.

— Stanford Athletics

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