Katie Ledecky won the women’s 800-meter freestyle event at the global swimming championships on Friday, bringing her total number of medals from these championships to a record 22.
At either the world or Olympic Games, Ledecky won the race with a time of 8 minutes, 8.04 seconds, giving her an undefeated streak of eight victories in a row. She is the first swimmer in history to win a particular individual event at five different world championships in a row.
Ledecky won by a margin of more than ten seconds over her other competitors. Kiah Melverton of Australia finished in second place, 10.73 seconds behind the winner, and Simona Quadarella of Italy finished in third, 10.96 seconds behind the winner.
In her performance at the Olympics in 2016, Ledecky set a world record that she came within four seconds of breaking.
“I’m fine with it,” was her response to my question. “This is the quickest I’ve been in the past few years. The perfect way to cap off a fantastic week.”
She has now won a total of 19 gold medals at world championships, including four so far this week. It was two days after she won the 1,500 freestyle that she helped the United States win the final for the 4×200 freestyle relay on Wednesday. This happened two days after she won the 400 freestyle on the opening day of competition in Budapest.
She finished the 400, 800, and 1,500-meter triple at a single worlds competition for the fourth time, which is more times than all of the other swimmers who managed the feat combined. Hannah Stockbauer of Germany, Grant Hackett of Australia, and Sun Yang of China were each successful in this endeavor only once.
Ledecky is the female swimmer in the history of the world championships who has won the most medals overall. Only Michael Phelps, who won a total of 26, has more medals than he does.
She has not yet finished it.
“This is only the start, which is very exciting for me,” said Ledecky, who noted that modifications to her strategy are yielding positive results. “This is just the beginning.”
“Training with the males, Bobby (Finke) and Kieran (Smith) and Trey (Freeman), who are all here, to try to keep up as much as I can and they push me,” said Ledecky. “There have been a couple of things that are a little unusual.” “I hope that they feel that they’ve benefited from me being there, as well as just a lot of work on my stroke and and my rhythm,” she said.
With just one more day of competition to go at Duna Arena, the United States currently has 37 medals, falling just one short of the record 38 it won the previous time Budapest played host to the global championships in 2017.
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