Aug 24, 2014, 8:27 AM EDT
Katie Ledecky broke her 1500m freestyle world record by six seconds on the final night of the Pan Pacific Championships on Sunday.
“Six seconds was a little surprising,” said Ledecky, who grimaced after winning in 15 minutes, 28.36 seconds, “It was painful, but it pays off in the end.”
The reigning Female World Swimmer of the Year has broken five world records in the last nine weeks, including the 400m free on Saturday and the 1500m free twice. Women do not contest the 1500m free at the Olympics.
She became the first woman to win four individual gold medals at a single Pan Pacific Championships, sweeping the 200m through 1500m frees at a meet contested among the world’s top swim nations outside Europe. She won five golds in six races overall, including the 4x200m free relay.
In the 1500m free, Ledecky was 27 seconds faster than the silver medalist, New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle. She lapped three of the eight finalists, meaning she finished her 1500m before they finished 1400m.
Ledecky’s time was .01 faster than Ryan Lochte‘s 1500m free at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, where her time would have placed fifth in the final.
“I knew it was my last race of the meet, and last race of the season,” Ledecky said. “I wanted to finish on a good note. I didn’t want to walk away from the meet with a little bit of, like, ‘Uh, that was just OK.’ I just dug in deep the last 50.”
NBC and NBC Sports Live Extra will air Pan Pacs coverage on Sunday from 1-2 p.m. ET.
In other events Sunday, Michael Phelps took second to Japan’s Kosuke Hagino in the 200m individual medley. Hagino won in 1:56.02, followed by Phelps in 1:56.04. Lochte won the consolation final in the same time as Hagino won the top final.
Phelps finished his first international meet since the London Olympics with gold in the 100m butterfly, silver in the 200m IM and fourth in the 100m free. He also won two relay gold medals and one relay silver. He swam the butterfly leg on the victorious U.S. 4x100m medley relay that closed the meet Sunday.
Lochte finished Pan Pacs with one individual medal, silver in the 100m fly.
Missy Franklin won a silver medal as part of the U.S. 4x100m medley relay. Australia won by 1.92 seconds. Franklin, slowed by back spasms Tuesday, finished the meet with one gold and two silvers in relays and one bronze individually.
American Maya DiRado won her first major international individual gold medal, taking the women’s 200m IM in 2:09.93.
Australian Cate Campbell added 50m free gold to her 100m free title, matching the fastest textile suit time ever in 23.96.
Brazil’s Bruno Fratus took the men’s 50m free in 21.44. Anthony Ervin, 33 and the oldest U.S. swimmer at the meet, took silver in 21.73 and qualified for the 2015 World Championships. Ervin tied for gold in the 50m free at the Olympics 14 years ago.
Japan swept the 200m breaststrokes with Yasuhiro Koseki (2:08.57) and Kanako Watanabe (2:21.41).
Canadian Ryan Cochrane prevailed in the 800m free in 7:45.39, repeating as Pan Pacs champion.
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