2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
- All sports: Friday, July 12 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
- Pool swimming: Sunday, July 21 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
- The Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center, Gwangju, Korea
- Meet site
- Competition Schedule
- FinaTV Live Stream
- Entry Lists
Katie Ledecky will not walk away from the 2019 FINA World Championships without a gold medal after returning from sickness and winning the women’s 800 free Saturday night in Gwangju.
Ledecky took second to Ariarne Titmus on the first night of the meet as she faded to the slowest final split of the in the 400 free. Citing illness, she withdrew from 200 free prelims Tuesday morning, and later, from the 1500 free final. It was unclear if she would return to racing this week.
She swam on the United States’ silver medal 4×200 free relay Thursday, however, posting the third-fastest split in the field, and was the second seed Friday . behind teammate Leah Smith after prelims of the 800 free (8:17.42).
In finals, Ledecky took out her race aggressively (2:00.19 at the 200) and was at that point over a second ahead of Italian Simona Quadarella. But by the 400-mark, Quadarella had closed that gap to less than half a second, and by the next wall, she had the lead by .06. At the 600, Quadarella’s lead was up to .84 seconds, but then Ledecky started to creep back up on her, .14 behind at the 750.
Ledecky brought it home in 29.19, a second-and-a-half faster than Quadarella’s 30.78, for the gold. Her final time was 8:13.58, only the 20th-fastest swim of her career, but it got the job done. Quadarella finished second in 8:14.99 and Titmus was third in 8:15.70; she notably closed in 28.89. Watch the final 50 below:
Heart of a champion indeed. Katie Ledecky, coming back from illness, passes Simona Quadarella in the last 50 meters of the 800m final, swimming 1.59 seconds faster than the Italian on the last length for her eighth straight major int'l title in the event. pic.twitter.com/MItVSqu0tH
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) July 27, 2019
Ledecky’s world record from Rio in 2016 is 8:04.79 and Saturday’s swim was still faster than any woman except herself.
After forgoing the opportunity in the 1500, with this win, Ledecky becomes just the second woman in history to win a world title in a single event in four straight chances, joining Katinka Hosszu – who did it earlier in the meet in the 200 IM – in the feat.