Since bursting onto the scene as a teenager at the 2012 London Olympics, Katie Ledecky has dominated women’s long distance swimming, leaving behind world records and gold medals.
And on Saturday, the American erased another world record – this time in the short course 1500m freestyle as she finished the race in 15:08.24, 10 seconds faster than anyone had done before.
Competing at the FINA Swimming World Cup in Toronto, Ledecky led from the first turn and was already more than a body length ahead of second-placed Laila Oravasky after 50m, and nearly a pool length ahead after 400m.
The seven-time Olympic gold medalist finished 40 seconds ahead of runner-up Beatriz Dizotti, more than enough time to wince, hear the crowd cheering and remove her hat and goggles as the swimmers continued to the left and to the right of her.
“Honestly, most of that emotion was just that it hurt a lot, so when something hurts you want to see a great result like that,” Ledecky said afterwards, according to the company’s website. FINA, the world governing body for sport.
“I felt good and very happy with the result both in this 200m and in this one.”
Ledecky’s time was so fast that she nearly broke the 800m world record in the same event, with a split time of 8:00.58, one second off the world record pace.
The capture of the 1500m short course record marked the American’s first world record in a 25m course, while all of her others have come in long course or a 50m course.
“I didn’t have it as my goal (to beat the world record),” Ledecky said, according to FINA.
“I really didn’t know what to expect coming out of this meeting, being my first meeting of the season, taking up most of August, picking up the pace of training, I didn’t have any type great preparation for this meet, just wanted to come in and race with international swimmers being a competition on North American soil.