Skip to content

Katie Ledecky breaks another world record

Jun 22, 2014, 11:59 PM EDT

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. Shannon Miller discusses new book, U.S. gymnastics on MSNBC’s ‘Sports Matters’ (video)

    May 5, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT

    Shannon Miller

    Miller also said the Magnificent Seven is planning its 20-year anniversary.

  2. Patrick Chan’s return about more than elusive Olympic gold medal

    May 5, 2015, 12:52 PM EDT

    Patrick Chan Getty Images

    Three-time World champion explained why he’s returning to competition.

  3. Nastia Liukin to be Indy 500 Grand Marshal

    May 4, 2015, 2:25 PM EDT

    Nastia Liukin Getty Images

    Liukin could be very busy during Indy 500 week with another competition.

  4. Intruder makes splash at FINA Diving World Series (photos)

    May 4, 2015, 10:19 AM EDT

    FINA Diving World Series intruder Getty Images

    “The guy who was getting ready to dive on the top board was laughing at me.”

  5. Jamaica exacts revenge on U.S. at World Relays, without Usain Bolt

    May 3, 2015, 10:32 PM EDT

    Jamaica Getty Images

    Bolt was seen at the stadium but sat out as an injury precaution.

  6. U.S. blanks Canada for gold at IPC World Sled Hockey Championship

    May 3, 2015, 6:19 PM EDT

    Sled Hockey

    It’s the first World title for the Americans on home ice.

  7. Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods announce breakup

    May 3, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods Getty Images

    They had been together for nearly three years.

  8. WATCH LIVE: U.S.-Canada in IPC World Sled Hockey Championship final — 2:30 p.m. ET

    May 3, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    Steve Cash Courtesty Bill Wippert

    Both teams crushed their first four opponents to reach this final rematch.

  9. U.S. holds off Usain Bolt at World Relays (video)

    May 2, 2015, 10:45 PM EDT

    Ryan Bailey, Usain Bolt Getty Images

    Also, Allyson Felix was involved in a collision.

  10. WATCH LIVE: U.S.-Norway in IPC World Sled Hockey Championship semifinals — 8 p.m. ET

    May 1, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

    Bill Wippert Credit Bill Wippert

    The U.S. has dominated opponents so far, but the medal round figures to provide tougher tests.

  11. Kim Rhode still No. 1 after difficult pregnancy, gun change on road to history in Rio

    May 1, 2015, 4:41 PM EDT

    Kim Rhode Getty Images

    Rhode could become the first Olympian to win medals on five continents.

  12. Usain Bolt: I have no issues with Justin Gatlin

    May 1, 2015, 2:21 PM EDT

    Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin Getty Images

    Bolt and Gatlin could go head to head at the IAAF World Relays this weekend.

  13. Jillion Potter done with cancer treatment, eyes U.S. rugby return, Olympics

    Apr 30, 2015, 5:22 PM EDT

    AP AP

    She finished radiation on March 31 and is 99 percent confident she’s cancer-free.

  14. Jeremy Bloom recalls 2006 Olympics in ‘Fueled by Failure’

    Apr 30, 2015, 3:43 PM EDT

    Jeremy Bloom Getty Images

    “I had prepared my entire life for this one moment and I knew there would not be another opportunity.”