Sarah Kohler Wins 1st OLY Pool Swimming Medal for Germany Since 2008 in 1500 FR


Day 4 Finals Recap

During the first-ever women’s 1500 free Olympic final, Germany’s Sarah Kohler threw down a massive lifetime best to scorch the German national record and earn Olympic bronze. This medal marks Germany’s first Olympic medal in women’s swimming since Britta Steffen‘s 50/100 free gold sweep in Beijing 2008. While the German team was on fire in the late ’00s, with Paul Biedermann‘s world record still standing since the super-suited 2009 Worlds meet.

Kohler had solidified her bronze medal position with roughly 200 meters to go, notching six seconds off her 2019 national record of 15:48.83 to go 15:42.91, becoming the No. 7 all-time performer in this event. Kohler also moves up from No. 6 to No. 3 all-time in European history in this event.

Previously, Kohler had picked up event silver medals at the 2019 World Championships and the 2018 European championships before her Olympic bronze medal.

All-Time European Rankings – Women’s 1500 FR LCM

  1. Lotte Friis (DEN) – 15:38.88, 2013
  2. Simona Quadarella (ITA) – 15:40.89, 2019
  3. Sarah Kohler (GER) – 15:42.91, 2021**
  4. Alessia Filippi (ITA) – 15:44.93, 2009
  5. Boglarka Kapas (HUN) – 15:47.09, 2015

Reported by Anne Lepesant.


  1. Katie Ledecky (USA) – 15:37.34
  2. Erica Sullivan (USA) – 15:41.41
  3. Sarah Kohler (GER) – 15:42.91
  4. Wang Jianjiahe (CHN) – 15:46.37
  5. Simona Quadarella (ITA) – 15:53.97
  6. Kiah Melverton (AUS) – 16:00.36
  7. Anastasia Kirpichnikova (RUS) – 16:00.38
  8. Maddy Gough (AUS) – 16:05.81

Katie Ledecky of USA won the inaugural women’s 1500 Olympic gold, an hour and 13 minutes after she competed in the 200 free final. Ledecky is the World Record-holder in this event, and she posted the fastest time in heats with 15:35.35. That established an Olympic Record.

Ledecky got off to a strong start, leading by a body at the 200 and by two body lengths at the 300. China’s Wang Jianjiahe was in second place through the 400, when Italy’s Simona Quadarella moved from third to take over second place.

It was still Ledecky, Quadarella, and Wang at the 600.

Germany’s Sarah Kohler was fourth through the first 800 meters. She moved into third place at the 850, overtaking Wang. By the 1200 both Kohler and Wang had passed Quadarella but now had to contend with hard-charging Erica Sullivan of the USA.

Sullivan moved to third place at the 1300, then passed Kohler at the 1400. She continued to outpace the field and moved closer to Ledecky. Sullivan and Kohler battled for the silver medal over the final 100 meters but Sullivan came out ahead by a second and a half, 15:41.41 to 15:42.91.

Ledecky won with 15:37.34, just 2 seconds off her Olympic Record. Sullivan made it a USA gold-silver sweep, while Kohler won Germany’s first pool swimming medal since 2008.

Sullivan and Kohler moved to 5th and 7th on the all-time performers list.

1 Katie Ledecky (USA) 15:20.48 2018
2 Lotte Friis (DEN) 15:38.88 2013
3 Lauren Boyle (NZL) 15:40.14 2015
4 Simona Quadarella (ITA) 15:40.89 2019
5 Erica Sullivan (USA) 15:41.41 2021
6 Kate Ziegler (USA) 15:42.54 2007
7 Sarah Kohler (GER) 15:42.91 2021
8 Alessia Filippi (ITA) 15:44.93 2009
9 Wang Jianjiahe (CHN) 15:45.59 2020
10 Madeleine Gough (AUS) 15:46.13 2021

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1 month ago

Wang was 15.41.49 from the heats, so would be 6th with Kohler in 8th

About Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro

Nick Pecoraro started swimming at age 11, instantly becoming drawn to the sport. He was a breaststroker and IMer when competing. After joining SwimSwam, the site has become an outlet for him to research and learn about competitive swimming and experience the sport through a new lenses. He graduated in …

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