1500m Freestyle World Championship Preview: Ledecky Looking For Second Distance Trifecta


  • Day 3, Tuesday, August 4th
  • 2013 World Champion: Katie Ledecky, USA – 15:36.53 (SEE RACE VIDEO ABOVE)
  • 2013 Silver Medalist: Lotte Friis, DEN – 15:38.88
  • 2013 Bronze Medalist: Lauren Boyle, NZL – 15:14.71

In 2005 it took a 16:00 swim to win the gold medal. By 2013, the winning time came all the way down to 15:36, and a 16:00 wouldn’t even have medalled. The event has progressively gotten faster, as Janet Evans’ world record stood for 19 years before Kate Ziegler broke it in 2007 (by ten seconds) and then six years after that Ledecky broke Ziegler’s record (by six seconds). The reason why these records stand for so long and then are broken by such big margins most likely has something to do with the fact that this isn’t an Olympic event, therefore women rarely swim it at meets and wouldn’t really make it their primary training focus. Since breaking the world record and winning the world title in 2013, Ledecky has broken the record twice more, and has it down another six seconds, all the way down to 15:28. It is not just Ledecky getting faster, as the bronze medal winning time in 2013 was fast enough to win at any other world championships.

James Sutherland Women's 1500 free 2015 World Championship Previews

We can count on Ledecky being faster than 2013, but as for the rest of the field, it is difficult to predict. 2013 was a very fast year, specifically for the top 3, and if we saw three women under 15:45 again it would be a surprise. Take a look at the top times from around the world this year:

2014-2015 LCM Women 1500 Free

View Top 26»

Katie Ledecky is the undisputed favourite in this event and it does not appear that she will be challenged in the slightest. The fact of the matter is that she was 27 seconds faster than the next closest woman in 2014. Enough said. After smashing the existing world record at the last world championships, she has since lowered that mark twice and it now stands at 15:28.36, making the second fastest woman in the history of the event ten seconds slower than her. Based on what she has done, I can predict nothing less than for her to lower her mark once again. What she is capable of at the peak of her career remains to be seen. It could’ve been last summer, it could be in five years or in ten years, but all we know now is she is a dominant force and no one can stop her.

Lauren Boyle of New Zealand will be in the race for silver, which could turn out to be a very good one. The way things look now, she could easily be considered the favourite for the silver. She won bronze at the 2013 world championships and won silver at the Pan Pacific Championships last summer.

Lotte Friis of Denmark went with Ledecky for the entire 1500 2 years ago, just coming up short in the closing meters but still swimming a time that broke the existing world record by almost four seconds and is the second fastest woman ever. She hasn’t swum up to the lofty standards she set for herself in 2013, but has looked better this year than she did last year and will have a good shot at a medal.

Jazmin Carlin of Great Britain has seen great success in the 400 and 800 freestyles, but has yet to really put together a great 1500. She finished 9th at the 2013 worlds, just missing the final, and has been ranked 9th and 10th in the world the last two seasons. Given her ability in the 800, we should expect her to drop a massive personal best in the event and challenge to get onto the podium.

Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain holds a impressive resume in this event, finishing 4th at the 2013 world championships, winning the 2014 European championships and also being the short course world record holder in the event. She has proven her ability to crack 16 minutes and get a top finish, but has yet to break through past that and with her heavy event schedule we can’t expect much more from her this summer.

Boglarka Kapas has been swimming well recently after winning silver at the 2014 European Championships and holding onto top 10 rankings in the world in 2014 and 2015. She should be counted on for a low 16 minute performance and a spot in the final. Jessica Ashwood of Australia is ranked 2nd in the world currently swimming a 15:56.86 already this year. In the past she has struggled on the international stage, and will look to put that behind her this summer with some strong performances.

Sarah Kohler of Germany has had a great 2015. After being ranked 30th in the world in 2014, she now sits 7th in the world and will have a good chance to crack the top 8 in Kazan.

My darkhorse for the women’s 1500 is Martina Rita Caramignoli of Italy. After just a 10th place finish at the world championships two years ago, Caramignoli swam a personal best 16:05 and won bronze at the European Championships last summer. She sits 12th in the world this year and could make a surprise final in Kazan. Others to watch for in this event include Isabelle Haerle of Germany, Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands and Aurora Ponsele of Italy.


  1. Katie Ledecky, USA                               15:25.98
  2. Lauren Boyle, NZL                                 15:42.86
  3. Lotte Friis, DEN                                      15:47.14
  4. Jazmin Carlin, GBR                                15:56.58
  5. Mireia Belmonte-Garcia, ESP             15:59.83
  6. Boglarka Kapas, HUN                           16:01.45
  7. Jessica Aswhood, AUS                          16:06.52
  8. Sarah Kohler, GER                                 16:06.98

Darkhorse: Martina Rita Caramignoli, ITA            16:09.37


Day 1, Sun August 2nd (Day 9)

Day 2, Mon August 3rd (Day 10)

  • M 100 Breast
  • W 100 Fly
  • M 50 Fly
  • W 200 IM

Day 3, Tue August 4th (Day 11)

Day 4, Wed August 5th (Day 12)

Day 5, Thur August 6th (Day 13)

  • M 200 IM
  • M 100 Free
  • W 200 Fly
  • W 50 Back
  • W 4×200 Free Relay

Day 6, Fri August 7th (Day 14)

  • W 100 Free
  • M 200 Back
  • W 200 Breast
  • M 200 Breast
  • M 4×200 Free Relay

Day 7, Sat August 8th (Day 15)

Day 8, Sun August 9th (Day 16)

  • M 50 Back
  • W 50 Breast
  • M 400 IM
  • W 50 Free
  • M 1500 Free
  • W 400 IM
  • M 4×100 Medley Relay
  • W 4×100 Medley Relay

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8 years ago

Don’t see Ledecky breaking her world record this year . Probably cruises this one for the 200 and goes in the 15:30 range but still wins easily

M Palota
8 years ago

Ledecky in a walk subject, of course, that nothing is 100%. 🙂

If everything goes to form, the race for a spot of the podium behind Ledecky will be very tight. We could see the fastest final, 1 through 8, ever.

8 years ago

I’m expecting a massive drop for Sharon von Rouwendaal to get in that medal mix.

8 years ago

How she will handle so many swims within 7 or 8 days is still a mystery to me ; but we all know that she is shark in the pool in any given race . She will just pace well every race and probably come very close to each WR , except the 200 . Go Katie

8 years ago

I agree that would make sense, but I’m not sure that’s in Ledecky’s dna! Recall that she went her 4:26 500 in *prelims* of her HS championship meet. Ledecky has a huge motor and one speed: FAST!

Jim C
Reply to  SwimGeek
8 years ago

Ledecky could possibly try for a WR in the prelims, but just swim for the win in the finals.

8 years ago

She may decide to hold a little in reserve for the 200 particularly, and the 800 as well.

Jim C
Reply to  Ger
8 years ago

With a 200 semi just a short time later, I expect her to hold a lot in reserve unless someone pushes her.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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