KAZAN, Russia, Aug. 8 (UPI) — Katie Ledecky obliterated the world record in her 800-meter freestyle finals heat on Saturday at the World Championships in Kazan, Russia.
Her time of 8 minutes, 7.39 seconds put her in the record books and earned her a fifth gold medal in seven days at the competition. The time bested her previous record-setting mark by 3.5 seconds.
“I knew that I was capable of going sub-8:10, so to go 8:07 means a lot,” Ledecky said.
The impressive swim makes her the first swimmer, male or female, to take first place in the 200, 400, 800 and 1,500 freestyle events at a single world championship. It’s Ledecky’s tenth world record. The only other swimmer to set so many records so quickly in a young career is Michael Phelps.
“I didn’t realize how fast Katie was going, 8:07 is absolutely incredible,” bronze medalist Jazz Carlin, of Great Britain, said in an interview with Eurosport. “She’s getting faster every time she races.”
“She’s younger than me. She’s quite a bit younger,” Carlin added. “So, obviously, yeah, it’s tough. But I think it’s definitely given us girls something to aim for. And it’s really moving the distance events along. And obviously she’s won the 200 now as well, so we all need to work on our speed as well.”
New Zealand swimmer Lauren Boyle took second, finishing 10 seconds behind Ledecky.
Ledecky, who hails from Bethesda, Maryland, is just 18 years old.