Race Video: Ledecky’s 3rd Consecutive Worlds 800 Free Title


It’s not Katie Ledecky. It’s us. We’ve become so accustomed to watching her lap the competition in 800 and 1500 freestyle events, even on the world stage, that we declare the tenth-fastest 800 free performance in history “ho hum” because there were two swimmers within the camera’s frame as Ledecky wrapped up her swim. Yes, China’s Li Bingjie was phenomenal, moving up to third on the all-time list with her second-place 8:15.46. Yes, Leah Smith‘s PB of 8:17.22 was amazing in its own right, earning her the bronze medal and making her the 11th-fastest performer in history. But let’s not forget that Ledecky has owned this race, and the 400 and the 1500, on the world stage since the 2013 World Championships. Let’s let that sink in a bit before we “ho hum” anything.

Watch the entire race, courtesy of NBC Sports, below:

Write-up from James Sutherland:


  1. Katie Ledecky, USA, 8:12.68
  2. Li Bingjie, CHN, 8:15.46
  3. Leah Smith, USA, 8:17.22

It wasn’t the most dominant performance of Katie Ledecky‘s career, but she got the job done in the 800 free in a time of 8:12.68. That gives her three straight World titles in the event, giving her three three-peats along with the 400 and 1500.

China’s Li Bingjie had an amazing swim, jumping into 3rd on the all-time performers list in 8:15.46 for silver, crushing her Asian record. Leah Smith also snapped her best time to win bronze in 8:17.22, her first time under 8:20.

Mireia Belmonte (8:23.30) and Boglarka Kapas (8:24.41) finished 4th and 5th.

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3 years ago

I really enjoyed these announcers, better than the Olympic Channel.

Reply to  Dave
3 years ago

Agreed I really like how they called the race

Reply to  Dave
3 years ago

Absolutely, to quote Brittany MacLean. I think the over/under is 27.5 times per telecast that she uses the word, “absolutely.”

Not bad overall though. This is the same announcing crew that calls the prelim coverage on Olympic Channel every morning.

3 years ago

What video?

3 years ago

Greg Meehan should take a look at Ledecky’s training leading up to this. She is so good that even her B game is good enough to win, but clearly she was not as well prepared for this meet as she was in previous meets.

Reply to  Mikeh
3 years ago

Katie Ledecky can start by dropping the women’s 100 m freestyle from her program altogether. Katie Ledecky never has been and never will be the savior of the women’s 100 m freestyle.

Women’s 100 m freestyle
Personal Bests
Manuel – 52.27
Comerford – 52.59
Weitzeil – 53.28
Franklin – 53.36
Neal – 53.59
Ledecky – 53.75

Reply to  Mikeh
3 years ago

Katie Ledecky can start by dropping the women’s 100 m freestyle from her program altogether.



About Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant

Anne Lepesant is the mother of four daughters, all of whom swim/swam in college. With an undergraduate degree from Princeton (where she was an all-Ivy tennis player) and an MBA from INSEAD, she worked for many years in the financial industry, both in France and the U.S. Anne is currently …

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