Katie Ledecky is a cheat code.
The American legend proved it again at the swimming world championships in Budapest on Tuesday, finishing the women’s 1500m with none of her competitors in the same TV frame.
The 25-year-old is now a 17-time world champion and remains undefeated in the 1500m.
Ledecky earlier this week defended her 400m freestyle crown — having missed an opportunity to go head to head with Ariarne Titmus for the first time since the Aussie star’s historic victory at the Tokyo Olympics last year. Titmus skipped the world championships to focus on the Commonwealth Games, beginning July 28.
Without Titmus, Ledecky had missed her biggest potential headline moment of the meet, but she created one for herself with a swim in the 1500m that has left the world in awe.
Ledecky touched the wall more than 14 seconds clear of her nearest rival. Aussie Lani Pallister swum a personal best time to win bronze, 18 seconds behind Ledecky.
The numbers from Ledecky’s swim are crazy. Perhaps even crazier than the numbers is the casual manner in which she did it.
“I was having a good one, the goal was to just lock into a pace,” she said.
American sporting website SB Nation posted on Twitter Ledecky looked “bored” while waiting for her opponents to finish.
It was the sixth fastest swim of all time.
She now owns the 13 fastest times ever swum at that distance.
Her time of 15:30.15 was more than nine seconds slower than her own world record, but still more than eight seconds quicker than what any other woman on the planet has ever recorded.
Her 20th world championship medal ties her with Natalie Coughlin as the most ever won by a woman.
Ledecky had won three straight 1500m world titles before illness forced her to withdraw from the 2019 final in Gwangju, South Korea. She rebounded to win gold in the Tokyo Olympics.
Ledecky, who won her first major championship gold in the London Olympics in 2012, is an old-timer by distance swimming standards, but at 25 years old is 11 years younger than Chilean Kristel Koebrich, who was eighth.
“I won’t be doing this when I’m 36,” said Ledecky.
On Wednesday morning Kristof Milak shattered the 200m butterfly world record to win Hungary’s first gold at the meet.
The local crowd went berserk as the Olympic champion shaved 0.39sec off the world record he set winning the last world title in 2019.
He beat France’s Leon Marchand by a huge 3.03sec
His swim was partly overshadowed by the last-minute scratching of American superstar Caeleb Dressel.
Dressel, the defending champion, pulled out of the 100m freestyle semi-finals and mixed medley relay just before the session.
USA Swimming eventually said he was withdrawn on medical grounds and said a decision on his participation in upcoming events was yet to be decided.
They refused to give any more details.
That called into question the much anticipated showdown between the two in the 100m butterfly, where Dressel holds the world record and edged Milak in the Olympic final last year.
“Whether Dressel is there or not I will stand there and do everything I can in the 100 fly for a gold or a silver or a world record, this is all my focus,” Milak said after winning the 200m butterfly in a world record.
“Of course it would be better if my big opponent was here, at home as it were, for a head to head fight.”
Dressel had swum in Tuesday morning’s heats in the 100 free, finishing second fastest to Romanian teenage sensation David Popovici. Dressel won the event at the last two world championships and at last year’s Olympics.
— with AFP