Katie Ledecky smashes the 1,500 meter freestyle world record: “It hurt a lot”

Katie Ledecky is having fun in her first competition of the season at the FINA Swimming World Cup. The American star swimmer set a world record in the 1,500-meter freestyle on Saturday night at the Pan Am Sports Center in Toronto.

“I knew that record was in reach just because of some things I did in training, especially my distance stuff (because it) went really well this fall,” Ledecky said. . “So I felt locked into the rhythm.”

The 10-time Olympic medalist – who doesn’t compete in short course events very often – finished in 15:08.24, taking nearly 10 seconds off the previous record set by Germany’s Sarah Wellbrock (15:18.01) in 2019.

Katie Ledecky of the United States of America celebrates after winning the women's 1500m freestyle in record time during the World Cup Short Course Swimming Final at the Pan Am Sports Center in Toronto on October 29, 2022 .
Katie Ledecky of the United States of America celebrates after winning the women’s 1500m freestyle in record time during the World Cup Short Course Swimming Final at the Pan Am Sports Center in Toronto on October 29, 2022 .

Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images


Canada’s Summer McIntosh, who also set a mark at the world juniors when she edged Ledecky in the 400 freestyle on Friday, finished first in the 400 medley in 4:21.49 to lead a Canadian sweep.

“Throughout the race I felt really in control and strong, so I’m really happy,” she said.

Sydney Pickrem was second in 4:28.45 and Bailey Andison was third in 4:29.36.

McIntosh, a 16-year-old Torontonian, shaved nearly two seconds off the previous world junior mark set by China’s Shiwen Ye (4:23.33) in 2012.

Ledecky, a native of marylandtook the gold ahead of Beatriz Dizotti of Brazil (15:48.82) and Laila Oravsky of Canada who was third in 16:16.86.

“It’s so unreal to be a part of something so amazing,” Oravsky said. “It was the fastest 1500m that has ever been swum and I was part of it. It’s crazy.”

Maggie Mac Neil of Canada improved her national record in the women’s 50-metre butterfly, finishing first in 24.75 seconds. American Beata Nelson won the women’s 100m backstroke and American Shaine Casas finished first in the men’s 200m medley.

One of the biggest roars from the near-full crowd came as Ledecky arrived. She splashed water after looking at the scoreboard to see her world record time.

“Honestly, most of that emotion was just that it hurt so much,” she said. “When something hurts so badly, you want to see a good result like that. It was mostly happiness. I felt good and was very happy with the result.”

She returned to the pool soon after for the 200 freestyle and won the silver medal in 1:52.31 behind Siobhan Bernadette Haughey of Hong Kong.

“I haven’t had a great type of preparation for this competition,” Ledecky said. “I just wanted to come in and race international swimmers. These meets (Toronto and next week in Indianapolis) are on North American soil, so I had a great time.”

Ledecky’s feat comes just over a year after claiming the first gold medal in the women’s 1500 meter freestyle at the Tokyo Olympics.

“I just tried to enjoy it and soak up every moment,” she told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King after the Olympics.

Ledecky said she is already looking forward to the next Summer Games.

“I really hope to have the opportunity to represent the American team in Paris,” she said. “…I will be back with new goals for 2024.”

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