Ledecky’s Dozen: Passes Missy For Most World Champs Golds In History


With her third consecutive 1500 free title, Katie Ledecky has passed Missy Franklin for the most gold medals in long course World Championships history, holding a dozen world titles in as many appearances.

Ledecky entered the week with 9 golds, two behind Franklin’s 11. Day 1 brought wins in the 400 free and 4×100 free relay, and while day 2 only featured heats of the 1500, Ledecky capped that event with a win at day 3 finals.

It was all about the gold this time around for Ledecky, who perhaps backed off her most taxing pace just a bit with semifinals of the tough 200 free coming up a few events later in the session. Ledecky still went 15:31.82, which stands up as the 4th-fastest swim in history and is 7 full seconds faster than any other swimmer. But Ledecky was about six seconds off her own world record, set at the World Championships in 2015.

Ledecky’s Dozen

  • 2013: 400 free
  • 2013: 800 free
  • 2013: 1500 free
  • 2013: 4×200 free relay
  • 2015: 200 free
  • 2015: 400 free
  • 2015: 800 free
  • 2015: 1500 free
  • 2015: 4×200 free relay
  • 2017: 400 free
  • 2017: 1500 free
  • 2017: 4×100 free relay

Maybe most incredible about Ledecky’s record is that she is still undefeated at the World Championships, winning all 12 of her event entries over the last three cycles. She won 4 events in 2013 (400, 800, 1500, 4×200 relay), 5 in 2015 (200, 400, 800, 1500, 4×200 relay) and is in line to win a potential 6 this week. She’s already taken the 400, 1500 and 4×100 relay, and will contest the 200 semifinal tonight, the 4×200 relay on Thursday and the 800 free Friday morning.

Here’s a look at the athletes with the most gold medals in long course World Champs history. Ledecky now tops all women on the list, following only Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte overall.

Rank Name Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Michael Phelps 26 6 1 33
2 Ryan Lochte 18 5 4 27
3 Katie Ledecky 12 0 0 12
4 Missy Franklin 11 2 3 16
4 Ian Thorpe 11 1 1 13
6 Grant Hackett 10 6 3 19
6 Aaron Peirsol 10 2 0 12
8 Sun Yang 9 2 3 14
9 Natalie Coughlin 8 7 5 20
9 Libby Trickett 8 3 4 15
9 Kornelia Ender 8 2 0 10

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She already had the most individual wins of any female, probably will pass locthe in the next two years


Natalie Coughlin never gets enough credit. She’s one of the greatest athletes of all time, has a metal count of 20 and has been competing longer than Katie or Missy combined.


Totally agree! Would have loved to see what she could have done with 100 fly if she had the chance to focus more there. That event always seemed to conflict with 100 back at major meets.


List of individual gold medalists in swimming at the Olympics and World Aquatics Championships (women)



Why is there a need mention Michael Phelps or Ryan Lochte…this is about Katie Ledecky. Stop comparing the women to the men and let Katie’s complete dominance speak for itself.


I’ll tell why. MP has 15 individual world championships gold medals. In a couple days Katie Ledecky will have 11(ELEVEN) individual gold medals. And she isn’t an IMer yet. I let you make a conclusion yourself 😀


Do you have a rope or something so I can try to tie your points to what I was saying?


No, I don’t have a robe. Sorry. Can’t help you with that. Try it yourself one more time if you have time and desire. P.S. I tried to support your point. That was the only intention. Whoever is trying to evaluate the phenomenon called Katie Ledecky using “Michael Phelps” scale is doomed to fail. The only similarity one can find is the level of influence in rising swimming popularity. Using medal count isn’t much of help. Michael won 15 gold medals in 6 World Championships. Katie won (almost certainly) 11 medals in three WC. So what? Should we call Ledecky another Phelps because of that? Or we can say that Phelps managed to rise to the Ledecky’s level of dominance.… Read more »


Because she is now only third behind them in Gold medals and will soon pass Lochte. It’s showing that she is just as good if not better than they are.


She will go probably go as best female swimmer ever, don´t know if as good as Phelps, maybe 2nd best swimmer ever.. while her dominance is as big or bigger than Phelps, she does not have Phelps overall versatility..


Rafael, please define versatility that you are referring to. It can be artificial versatility of swimming decently more than one stroke. It can be versatility of biological nature like ability to swim at elite level from 100 through 1500 distances. Such type of versatility is extremely rare because it require the combination of different biological features in one biological system: different type of muscles, different type of respiratory and endocrine systems, etc. Don’t you think that there is a reason why sprinters at T&F have completely different body build than of one’s who runs marathon? To me Katie Ledecky and Sarah Sjostrom are the most versatile swimmers.

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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