Ever since she burst onto the scene as a teenager at the London 2012 Olympic Games, Katie Ledecky has dominated women’s long-distance swimming, leaving world records and gold medals in her wake.
And on Saturday the American obliterated yet another world record – this time in the 1500m short-course freestyle as she completed the race in 15:08.24, 10 seconds faster than anyone has done so before.
Competing at the FINA Swimming World Cup in Toronto, Ledecky led from the first turn and was already more than a body-length ahead of second-placed Laila Oravasky after 50m, and a near swimming pool-length ahead after 400m.
The seven-time Olympic gold medalist finished 40 seconds ahead of runner-up Beatriz Dizotti, more than enough time to grimace, take in the crowd’s applause and remove her hat and goggles while swimmers continued to the left and right of her.
“Honestly most of that emotion was just because it hurt a lot so when something hurts that much you want to see a great result like that,” Ledecky said after, according to FINA’s, the sport’s world governing body, website.
“I felt good and very pleased with the outcome in both that and the 200m.”
Ledecky’s time was so fast that she almost broke the 800m world record in the same event, with a split time of 8:00.58, a second off world-record pace.
Capturing the 1500m short-course record marked the American’s first world record in a 25m pool as all her others have come in the long-course or in a 50m pool.
“I didn’t have it as a set goal (to break the world record),” Ledecky said, according to FINA.
“I really didn’t know what to expect coming out of this meet, being my first meet of the season, taking most of August off, getting back into training rhythm, didn’t have any type of super preparation for this meet, just wanted to come in and race international swimmers being a meet in North American soil.”