Katie Ledecky wins world title in 800-meter freestyle to extend her medals record

Katie Ledecky smiles after winning gold in the women's 800-meter freestyle at the FINA World Championships on Friday.
Katie Ledecky shows off her gold medal after winning the 800-meter freestyle at the FINA World Championships on Friday.
(Petr David Josek / Associated Press)

Katie Ledecky extended her record haul of medals from the world swimming championships to 22 with her latest 800-meter freestyle win on Friday.

Ledecky clocked 8 minutes, 8.04 seconds to win the event for the eighth consecutive time at a world championship or Olympic Games. She’s the first swimmer to win a specific individual event at five successive worlds.

Ledecky finished more than 10 seconds ahead of her rivals. Australia’s Kiah Melverton was 10.73 behind in second and Italy’s Simona Quadarella 10.96 behind for third.


Ledecky was under four seconds off the world record she set at the 2016 Olympics.

“I’m happy with that,” she said. “Fastest I’ve been in a couple of years. So really good end to a great week.”

It’s her 19th gold at a worlds and her fourth this week. She helped the United States win the 800-meter freestyle relay final on Wednesday, two days after she won the 1,500 freestyle, which came two days after she won the 400 freestyle on the first day of racing in Budapest.

She completed the 400/800/1,500 triple for the fourth time at a single world championship, more than all the other swimmers who managed the feat combined. Germany’s Hannah Stockbauer, Australia’s Grant Hackett and China’s Sun Yang each managed it once.

Ledecky has the most medals for a female swimmer in world championships history. Only Michael Phelps, who won 26, has more.

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And she’s not finished yet.

“This is just the start, which is tremendously exciting for me,” said Ledecky, who added that changes to her approach are paying off.

“There have been a couple of things that are a little different — training with the men, 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,” Ledecky said. “I hope that they feel that they’ve benefited from me being there, and just a lot of work on my stroke and my rhythm.”

With one day of racing remaining at Duna Arena, the United States has 37 medals, just one short of the record 38 it claimed the last time Budapest hosted the worlds in 2017.