In her first race as a professional swimmer, Katie Ledecky blasted through the 1500m freestyle World Record she set at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan. Last week Ledecky took five seconds off her previous record, dropping the mark from 15:25.48 to 15:20.48 in a race that was impressively even-paced.
Ledecky, 21 years old, now has the top eight fastest times in the event, and swims the distance a full eighteen seconds faster than any other woman. Just this past year, the International Olympic Committee added the 1500m freestyle to the women’s event schedule for Tokyo 2020.
Previously, the 800m freestyle was the longest pool event swam by women, while the men competed in the 1500m free.
Ledecky, a world record holder in the 800m freestyle, has laid down the gauntlet for all those wishing to knock her off the distance freestyle Olympic throne.
“I wasn’t really expecting that, so it was great!” Ledecky said in an interview to Swimming World. ‘I have been doing some things I’ve never done before in practice […] [but] I didn’t know if the good training I’ve put in would translate immediately or down the road.”
The world record was just the beginning to a very fast and very successful weekend for Ledecky at the 2018 TYR Pro Swim Series Indianapolis swim competition. The next night, Ledecky crushed the field in the 200 freestyle, winning in a 1:55.42, almost two seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, Stanford teammate Simone Manuel. Seemingly tireless, on the final night of competition, Ledecky posted the third fastest 800m freestyle in history. Her time of 8 minutes seven seconds (8:07.43) put her 23 seconds ahead of second place.
Ledecky has yet to announce any sponsors that will partner with her leading into the 2020 Olympics, but after the results from this weekend, you can bet she is looking more marketable than ever.