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Katie Ledecky wins 800-meter free at Worlds for record fifth time

Jul 31, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Katie Ledecky (USA) reacts after winning the women's 800m freestyle final during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Grace Hollars-USA TODAY Sports

Katie Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle for a record fifth time on Friday with a superb swim at the FINA World Aquatics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

Ledecky finished in 8 minutes, 8.04 seconds to easily outdistance Australia’s Kiah Melverton (8:18.77) and Italy’s Simona Quadarella (8:19.00).

The victory made the 25-year-old the first swimmer — male or female — to win five world championships in a single discipline. The time was less than four seconds off her own world-record 8:04.79, set in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“Fastest I’ve been in a couple of years,” the Bethesda, Md., native said afterward. “So really good end to a great week.”

Ledecky, who has won six individual Olympic gold medals, has posted the 27 fastest times in the 800 free.

Ledecky has won four gold medals at the world event this week to raise her career total to 19. That is the most ever for a women’s swimmer.

“It’s just year after year of hard work,” Ledecky said. “I think back to London (Olympics in 2012) and I made it the goal to not be a one-hit wonder, and here we are 10 years later. I’m really proud of that and still excited for the future.”

Ledecky broke a tie with Ryan Lochte (18) to move into second place on the all-time world gold medals list, male or female. Michael Phelps (26) won the most gold medals.

–Field Level Media