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Katie Ledecky shatters 800 freestyle record for fifth world title

Katie Ledecky shatters 800 freestyle record for fifth world title
Katie Ledeckyshows off her gold medal after winning the 800-meter freestyle at the world swimming championships on Saturday. (Patrick B. Kraemer / EPA)

American teenager Katie Ledecky blew the competition and a world record out of the water this week during the world swimming championships in Kazan, Russia.

She completed a record-setting sweep on Saturday by smashing her own world record in the 800-meter freestyle by more than 3 1/2 seconds.

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The 18-year-old from Bethesda, Md., won her fifth gold medal of the meet by swimming the 800 in 8 minutes 7.39 seconds. She became the first person to sweep the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle events at the world championships. She also swam the anchor leg on the winning 800  relay team.

"It's really neat to say that you've done something nobody has done before," Ledecky said. "I'll enjoy this for a few days and then I'll get back to work and hopefully there's more to come."

Ledecky broke onto the international scene in the 2012 London Olympic Games with a gold-medal effort in the 800 freestyle. In 2014, she won four gold medals at the world championships, setting two world records.

"I knew that I was capable of going sub-8:10, so to go 8:07 means a lot," said the world-record holder in the 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle events.

Another American star, Missy Franklin, did not fare so well. The defending world champion in the 200 backstroke finished second to Australia's Emily Seebohm, who won in 2:05.81 to complete a sweep of the backstroke events.

Franklin, the reigning Olympic champion, finished in 2:06.34. Franklin has five medals in seven events but no individual gold two years after she won a record six titles in Barcelona. She later anchored the 400-meter relay team to victory.

"This is probably one of the hardest races to get second, just because I love it so much," Franklin said. "But I'm honestly really happy with that. I fought my heart out.... I'm just not there at the end yet, and that's all right."

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