Skip to content

Katie Ledecky breaks another world record

Jun 22, 2014, 11:59 PM EST

Katie Ledecky broke her second world record in four days, slashing 2.86 seconds off her 800m free mark from last year’s World Championships on Sunday.

Ledecky, 17 and the female World Swimmer of the Year, clocked 8 minutes, 11 seconds, at a meet in Texas. She took 2.3 seconds off her 1500m world record at the same pool Thursday.

“I knew I was swimming well, but I didn’t realize until I touched how much faster I was here than in Barcelona,” Ledecky told the Washington Post. “I’d still a bit stunned from this whole weekend. It’s a great feeling.”

The 800m world record is bigger because it’s an Olympic event (Ledecky won the 2012 Olympic 800m free title at age 15). The 1500m free is contested at the World Championships, but not the Olympics.

Ledecky is in spectacular form more than one month before the U.S. Championships, a selection meet for the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast, Australia, later in August, and the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia. Swimmers usually set their training to peak for the major late summer meets.

That’s just what Ledecky did last year, winning gold medals in all four of her World Championships events in Barcelona, including world records in the 800m and 1500m frees.

Ledecky is clearly in a class of her own in those two distances. Nobody is within five seconds of her in the 800m free or 10 seconds in the 1500m free since the start of 2013.

Her next challenges would appear to include the 400m free world record of 3:59.15, set by Italian Federica Pellegrini at the 2009 World Championships (the peak of the high-tech suit era). Ledecky’s personal best is 3:59.82, her 2013 World Championship-winning time. She swam 4:03.09 in Texas on Friday, the fastest time in the world this year.

She also swims the 200m free and has been improving in that distance the last three years — 1:58.66 (2012), 1:56.32 (2013), 1:56.27 (2014). Ledecky was the second fastest U.S. woman in the 200m free last year, behind Missy Franklin, and is the fastest so far this year.

A few notes about Ledecky’s 800m world record Sunday:

She negative split the race, which means she was faster in the second 400m (4:05.3) than the first half (4:05.7).

Her time was 3.63 seconds faster than her Olympic gold swim, which was an American record at the time.

Her time would have been the men’s world record until 1975.

Her split at 400m, 4:05.70, would have won every Olympic 400m gold medal before 2004, except when Janet Evans won in then-world record time in 1988.

How Missy Franklin heard about Ledecky’s world record Thursday

Latest Posts
  1. Elana Meyers Taylor wins historic bobsled World Championship

    Feb 28, 2015, 10:03 AM EST

    Elana Meyers Taylor Getty Images

    Meyers Taylor improved from silver medals at the 2013 Worlds and 2014 Olympics.

  2. Watch Rio Olympic Park transformation, timelapse videos

    Feb 27, 2015, 3:55 PM EST

    Rio Olympic Park

    Rio government organization published two videos looking at the construction of Olympic Park.

  3. Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali’s team may lose license

    Feb 27, 2015, 2:22 PM EST

    AP AP

    Nibali might not be able to defend his Tour de France title as an Astana rider.

  4. World’s most athletic couple takes the next leap

    Feb 27, 2015, 12:52 PM EST

    Ashton Eaton, Brianne Theisen Eaton AP

    Ashton Eaton, Brianne Theisen-Eaton are taking different paths to potential gold in Rio.

  5. IOC executive board proposes rule change for athletes, sponsors during Olympics

    Feb 27, 2015, 9:00 AM EST

    Witters Sport via US PRESSWIRE Witters Sport via US PRESSWIRE

    “Athletes have wanted this changed for a very long time. It’s been a very long discussion.”

  6. Is Simone Biles unbeatable?

    Feb 26, 2015, 4:48 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    U.S. Olympic legend said yes. Top U.S. gymnast says no.

  7. Elana Meyers Taylor in line for history at bobsled World Championships

    Feb 26, 2015, 10:48 AM EST

    Elana Meyers Taylor Getty Images

    Meanwhile, the Olympic champion is well back in Winterberg.

  8. Bernard Lagat cancels farewell tour with Rio in mind

    Feb 25, 2015, 3:34 PM EST

    AP AP

    “Would I really slow down that much that I wouldn’t make the (Olympic) team? I don’t think so.”

  9. Duel in the Pool returns to U.S.

    Feb 25, 2015, 12:17 PM EST

    Duel in the Pool Getty Images

    The U.S. is undefeated in six editions of the Ryder Cup-style event.

  10. Rio Olympics could have multiple cauldrons

    Feb 25, 2015, 10:37 AM EST

    Pan American Games cauldron Getty Images

    The Opening and Closing ceremonies will be held at a venue separate from the Olympic Stadium for track and field.

  11. Former WNBA No. 1 draft pick switches from U.S. to Belarus

    Feb 24, 2015, 11:08 AM EST

    Lindsey Harding Getty Images

    The only NCAA Player of the Year winner since 1997 not to play for the U.S. at a Worlds or Olympics.

  12. U.S. cross-country skiers share historic podium at World Championships (video)

    Feb 24, 2015, 10:35 AM EST

    Jessie Diggins, Caitlin Gregg Getty Images

    Olympians nearly double the previous U.S. tally for World Championships medals.

  13. Behind the scenes of Miracle on Ice reunion

    Feb 24, 2015, 10:30 AM EST

    AP AP

    Inside the locker room with the players and more.

  14. Nastia Liukin adds to history of Olympians on ‘Dancing With the Stars’

    Feb 24, 2015, 9:32 AM EST

    Nastia Liukin Getty Images

    Liukin is the third U.S. Olympic champion gymnast to go on the show.

  15. Mikaela Shiffrin wins Maribor slalom, snags World Cup lead in teenage finale (video)

    Feb 22, 2015, 8:51 AM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Shiffrin won her 13th World Cup race as a teen, bettered by only one woman in history.

  16. Kyla Ross commits to UCLA

    Feb 22, 2015, 8:19 AM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Ross joins a long line of Olympic women’s gymnasts to choose UCLA.

  17. Michael Phelps gets engaged (photos)

    Feb 22, 2015, 8:06 AM EST

    Michael Phelps

    Phelps is expected to return to competition following his suspension in April.

  18. ‘Relive the Miracle’ reunion emotional for 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team

    Feb 21, 2015, 11:45 PM EST

    AP AP

    All living members joked and reminisced in the “Relive the Miracle” ceremony at Herb Brooks Arena.

  19. Mike Eruzione, Miracle teammates remember Bob Suter, recall 1980 memories

    Feb 21, 2015, 4:00 PM EST

    AP AP

    Look for more on the Miracle on Ice reunion on NBC’s Hockey Day in American coverage on Sunday at noon ET.