- Katie Ledecky finished her 1500m freestyle race on Monday 14 seconds ahead of her competition.
- After the win, the American star was seen waiting in the pool without her opponents in sight.
- The victory gave Ledecky her 20th World Cup medal – equaling the all-time record.
Katie Ledecky is used to finishing ahead of the competition.
But on Monday, her win was even bigger than usual.
The American superstar finished a whopping 14 seconds ahead of the competition in her 1500 meter freestyle event at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. After touching the wall at 3:30:15 p.m. — more than seconds faster than her gold medal swim in the same event at the Tokyo Olympics — Ledecky could be seen checking her time, celebrating by pumping a fist into the water. and then patiently wait as the rest of the swimmers in the race completed their final laps.
A camera shot of the 25-year-old floating in the seemingly empty pool showed the staggering dominance of her latest win.
The win gave Ledecky the 20th World Cup medal – and 17th gold – of her illustrious swimming career. No woman in the history of the sport has earned more hardware, but Ledecky had no idea she would hit that benchmark until a reporter asked if she knew how many medals she had to her name.
“No – I don’t count,” she said with a chuckling NBC Sports interview immediately after the race. ‘What is it, 17? No, that’s gold. Then I don’t know.’
When the interviewer broke the news that her 20 medals are tied for the record with American great Natalie Coughlin, Ledecky admitted it’s “pretty wild” to be in the running for long-term performance.
“It feels like I was in Barcelona yesterday at my first world championships,” Ledecky said. “It’s great to represent Team USA year after year and it’s an honor and a privilege and that’s why I work hard.”
In addition to her masterclass in the 1500 meters free, Ledecky managed to recapture the world title in the 400 meters free. That feat was made a little easier without her biggest competition in the field. Ariarne Titmus – the Australian who defeated Ledecky in the event at the Tokyo Olympics and broke her world record last month – did not travel to Budapest for the annual festivities because she prefers to “play on the biggest stage, which for me is the Olympics”, she told The New York Times.
Ledecky has two more events to go in Hungary. She will swim the 4x200m freestyle relay on Wednesday and, assuming she continues from her heat on Friday, the 800m freestyle the following day.
Check out the post-race highlights and interview of Ledecky’s impressive 1500m freestyle win below: