3-Time World Champion Katie Ledecky, Citing Illness, Scratches 1500 in Gwangju


Just a couple hours after we found out American star Katie Ledecky was scratching the 200m free the 2019 FINA World Championships due to illness and was questionable for the 1500m free, she has officially scratched the latter as well.

“Team USA officials have made the decision to withdraw Katie Ledecky from this evening’s 1500m free final,” a statement from USA Swimming said.

According to the organization’s statement from earlier today, the five-time Olympic champion Ledecky has felt unwell since arriving in Gwangju. Her coach Greg Meehan, also the head women’s coach at this meet for Team USA, told The New York Times that team doctors had not made an official diagnosis and that getting her back in the meet “at some point'” would be “an ideal scenario.”

Ledecky has won three straight world titles in the event and is the fastest woman in history by more than 18 seconds. Shortly after she scratched the 200, fellow top seeds Taylor Ruck and Emma McKeon did the same. McKeon also cited illness, while Ruck’s camp said it wanted to “protect her performances for the rest of the world championships.”

Ledecky suffered her first distance freestyle event loss at an international meet on day one in Gwangju, when 18-year-old Ariarne Titmus of Australia surged at the end of the 400m free to beat her. Ledecky led at the 350-mark then uncharacteristically posted the slowest closing split of the field; the Olympic champion did not mention being ill during the post-race press conference.

She swam the 1500 heats on Monday morning, taking the top seed. FINA rules do not allow for ‘replacement swimmers’ after the entry deadline, so the USA will not be able to replace Ledecky in her events.

With Ledecky’s 1500 scratch, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte moves into the final after taking ninth in prelims; this will be Belmonte’s first final of the meet.

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2 years ago

*looks frantically around for Janet Evans*

Wild Bill
2 years ago

Get well Katie!

2 years ago

Hope she recovers quickly

2 years ago
William Charles Alexander
2 years ago

Silver Lining: at least Mireia Belmonte gets her first final at the meet now… though i dont rate her chances high of defending her silver from budapest 2017.

2 years ago

Hope she gets better, that sure explains the 400, Murphy’s laws is a #?*!

ACC fan
2 years ago

She definitely looked sluggish, this illness explains it. Hope you feel better soon Katie! At least it’s now and not during the Olympics.

2 years ago

she swam a 15:48 1500 free when sick. she’s absolutely amazing. get better soon.

Reply to  mediocre-ly
2 years ago

Yes she is courageous, tough, splendid young woman. She is 22 but has been on top a long time.

Jim C
Reply to  mediocre-ly
2 years ago

Not nearly as amazing as a sub 4 minute 400..

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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