Race Video: Watch Katie Ledecky’s Back-to-Back 1500 and 200 Freestyles


At 5:40 p.m. at the Danube Arena in Budapest, American Katie Ledecky stepped up to the block to swim in the final of the women’s 1500m freestyle. An hour later, after having averaged 31-lows on her 50s for 15 and a half minutes, Ledecky was back at it in the first semi-final of the women’s 200m freestyle. And despite having just finished the fourth-fastest 1500 free in history, Ledecky still led the field in the 200. She won her heat with the top overall time of the night, and will dispute the final on Wednesday from lane 4.

Watch the races below courtesy of NBC Sports.


Write-up by Loretta Race:

As a surprise to no one, American Katie Ledecky scorched the women’s 1500m freestyle field, taking gold in a time of 15:31.82, the 4th fastest performance of all time. This is Ledecky’s 3rd consecutive world title in the event, having won in both Barcelona and Kazan. Ledecky has already wrangled in gold in the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay, as well as a gold in the 400m free, so the Stanford swimmer is well on her way to a record-setting haul here in Budapest.

This win marked Ledecky’s 12th world championship victory, the most of any female, only sitting behind Michael Phelps (26 medals) and Ryan Lochte (18). And Ledecky isn’t even done for this session, taking on the first semi-final of the 200m freestyle coming up in less than an hour.

Finishing 19 seconds later was Spaniard Mireia Belmonte, the 200m fly Olympic champion. Belmonte wasn’t able to compete at the 2015 World championships in Kazan due to a shoulder injury, so this race was a redemption of sorts for the national record holder. 15:50.89 was the time Belmonte clocked tonight, clearing a new Spanish record and checking in among the world’s top 10 performers of all-time in the race.

Italy’s Simona Quadarella was tonight’s bronze medalist in a time of 15:53.86, crushing her qualifying time of 16:07.08.


Write-up by Loretta Race:

The women’s 200m freestyle semi-finals was a tale of 2 races, as the first 8 women fired off quick swims, while the 2nd heat was a little on the sluggish side. All told, just two women were under the 1:55 mark, led by American Katie Ledecky, less than an hour after her gold medal-winning 1500m freestyle. Her time of 1:54.69 is the 5th-fastest performance by an American.

On-fire Australian Emma McKeon is going after her 3rd medal here in Budapest, having already won silver on the 4x100m free and silver in the 100m fly. McKeon’s time tonight of 1:54.99 is her 2nd best ever and sets the Brisbane-swimmer up nicely to challenge for the gold.

Russia’s Veronika Popova was also in that first heat, clocking 1:55.08, hacking .85 off of her previous personal best of 1:55.93 to check-in with a new national record.

Another national record fell by way of 6th seeded Siobhan Haughey of Hong Kong. Her time from this morning of 1:56.62 was Hong Kong’s best-ever time from a female, but the Michigan Wolverine-trained athlete lowered that time even further, taking it to 1:56.21 tonight.

Leah Smith of the U.S. barely made it into the top 8, taking the outside lane in 1:56.34.

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I was starting to have my doubts about Greg Meehan. However, the race strategy worked to perfection for the last two days:

Women’s 1500 m freestyle heats – nice and easy
Women’s 200 m freestyle heats – nice and easy
Women’s 1500 m freestyle final – don’t kill yourself
Women’s 200 m freestyle semifinals – make a statement

The time of 1:54.69 is the 15th fastest performance in the women’s 200 m freestyle.


US and World Lists, All Time Top Performances


I think it’s worth noting she is still faster than her own 2013 World Record, and the next one she set in 2014 before dropping under the 15:30 point later that same year. And honestly, it is also worth realizing that she might never break her 15:25 record and it stands to reason it might be 20 years until someone comes along who can.

I guess when it comes to Ledecky, we’ve been amazed so many times that amazing performances sometimes stop amazing us!


Katie Ledecky
Women’s 200 freestyle

2015 Kazan
Heats – 1:55.82
Semifinals – 1:56.76
Final – 1:55.16

2016 Rio
Heats – 1:55.01
Semifinals – 1:54.81
Final – 1:53.73

2017 Budapest
Heats – 1:56.27
Semifinals – 1:54.69
Final –

You can draw your own conclusions.


Certainly not knocking her in any way. It takes a unique talent to know how to race both a 200 and a 1500, two distances that have almost nothing in common other than taking place in a pool and swimming freestyle. And to be swimming the times she does as that….simply impressive.


Ledecky navigated the toughest part of her schedule far better in calendar year 2017 than calendar year 2015. I predict that Ledecky guns for the American record (1:53.61) in the women’s 200 m freestyle tomorrow.


I am starting to have my doubts about Greg Meehan. Not that he cares a whit what some random internet person thinks. However Katie’s times have been dominant but a trifle off so far here at Worlds. At NCAAs she had a brilliant 500, but was slower than Conference in the 200 and 1650. So what is going on? Perhaps overtraining, the bane of collegiate swimming? Hard training combined with long hours studying along with less regular sleep? Hard to say for sure.

Ab Ramirez

It is hard to be Ledecky fan. At Olympic Trials it was terrible of her. Nothing like what was expect after great results in season. And then the spectacular performance at Olympic Games followed.
She started this meet like she hasn’t tapered at all after Nationals. Her times at 400 and in relay were just slightly better. This even started talks of possible upset at 200 because of tough double she had and great shape of McKeon and Co. And today I started believe in her another 1:53 and possibility of beating Allison Schmitt’s record.


You are just jealous of the person’s who is capable of all variety of human feelings. 🙂
I used to have neighbors who’s child’s face had no other expression than unreasonable smiling. And each time when I saw him I was sorry for his parents.


Katie Ledecky
Women’s 200 m freestyle

2017 Budapest
Heats – 1:56.27
Semifinals – 1:54.69
Final –

Please fill in the blank, so to speak.

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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