After American Katie Ledecky and Lotte Friis of Denmark battled it out in the 1500 freestyle, both finishing well under Kate Ziegler’s world record, it was expected that the 800 freestyle was going to be a great race and it lived up to it’s billing.
Ledecky’s 800 split in the 1500 freestyle was 8:17.33 while Friis split 8:17.16, times that would have ranked first and second in the world heading into to Barcelona.
Friis game plan in the 800 appeared to be the same as it was in the 1500, get a lead and keep that lead for as long as possible hoping that it lasts for a full 800 meters. Unfortunately for Friis Ledecky also decided to use the same tactics she did in the 1500, allow Friis to lead until 200 meters left in the race, take over the lead and destroy her in the final 100 meters.
Ledecky finished first in a new world record time of 8:13.86 breaking Rebecca Adlington‘s record of 8:14.10 set in 2008.
It was obvious that Ledecky was on a mission to leave Barcelona with both the 800 and 1500 freestyle world records and that is exactly what she did.
The 16 year old is the first woman to hold both records at the same time since Janet Evans accomplished that feat in March of 1988, coincidently at the age of 16.
Adlington’s world record splits from the 2008 Olympics:
2:01.32/4:05.72 (2:04.40)/6:10.30 (2:04.58)/8:14.10 (2:03.80)
Ledecky’s world record splits from 2013 World Championships
2:01.23/4:06.44 (2:05.21)/6:11.03 (2:04.59)/8:13.86 (2:02.83)
Ledecky is also the first woman to win the 400, 800 and 1500 freestyle events at the world championships since Hannah Stockbauer of Germany did in 2003.
Friis finished in a time of 8:16.32 just over her championship record of 8:15.92 that she set in 2009. Friis is a veteran of the event having won the bronze at the Olympics in 2008, gold at the 2009 World Championships and silver at the 2011 World Championships.
Lauren Boyle of New Zealand finished third in a new national record time of 8:18.58. Boyle broke her own national record of 8:22.72 that she set in the final at the Olympics where she finished fourth.
Hungarian Boglarka Kapas held off a late charge by Mireia Belmonte Garcia to finish fourth in a time of 8:21.21. Belmonte Garcia finished fifth in a time of 8:21.99.
American Chloe Sutton finished sixth with a time of 8:27.75, Andreina Pinto of Venezuela finished seventh in a time of 8:29.37 followed by Martina De Memme who finished eighth in a time of 8:37.29.