Two days after setting a new American mark in her 400-meter freestyle win at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart rising junior Katie Ledecky crushed a world record en route to winning gold in the 1,500-meter freestyle.
Ledecky’s time of 15 minutes, 36.53 seconds bested the previous mark, held by Bishop O’Connell (Va.) graduate Kate Ziegler since 2007.
“[The world record] means the world to me. Kate Ziegler, who had the world record, is from [the Washington, D.C. area]. I’ve looked up to her my whole life and I am really honored to break that world record and keep it in Potomac Valley,” Ledecky said in a news release.
The gold medalist in the 800-meter freestyle at the 2012 London Olympics trailed Denmark’s Lotte Friis through the 1,300-meter mark before she pulled away down the stretch to win the event by about two seconds. Friis also bested Ziegler’s previous world record time in her second-place finish; the two were under the world record pace the entire swim.
“The main goal was to just come out on top. I knew we were going pretty fast and I figured whoever was going to come out on top was going to get the world record. I had to be careful not to push it too early, not to push it too late, and just touch the wall first. Around the last 200, I knew I could take off,” Ledecky said.
The fast rising American superstar has two more chances to win gold in Spain, in the 800-meter freestyle and 800-meter freestyle relay.