Watch Katie Ledecky Break her 1500m World Record – 15:25.48 – Race Video

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Katie Ledecky of the United States put on an incredible performance to take yet another chunk off her own 1500m freestyle world record and take home her second gold medal of these World Championships.

With a big push at the end, Ledecky touched in at 15:25.48 to take over two seconds off her newly-established world record of 15:27.71 that she set in prelims earlier in the meet.

Below are a comparison of Ledecky’s prelims and finals splits (both world record performances): 

Prelims 2015 Finals 2015
200 2:01.83 2:00.52
400 4:06.41 4:04.89
600 6:11.18 6:09.19
800 8:15.29 8:13.25
1000 10:19.55 10:17.23
1200 12:23.58 12:21.24
1400 14:27.51 14:25.62
1500 15:27.71 15:25.48

Ledecky took the race out hard as she usually does, going under world record pace right from the get go. At the 400m mark, Ledecky turned in 4:04.89, a time that would have finished sixth in the individual 400m freestyle final.

Moving forward, Ledecky continued to bring the heat, turning in 8:13.25 to go well under her own record pace. That 800-split for Ledecky is faster than any indvidual 800 anyone besides Ledecky has ever swum before. Ledecky closed strong to win the race by an incredible 14.66 seconds over New Zealand’s Lauren Boyle.

With that win Ledecky is still currently undefeated in major international competition. She also now holds all of the top five 1500m freestyle performances of all time.

Ledecky’s world record on Tuesday night just goes to show how she has developed over the past few years. Just two years ago at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Ledecky won the 1500m freestyle in 15:36.53 to break the previous world record and take home the gold.

In 2013 she had Danish swimmer Lotte Friis on her tail, who managed to touch in just behind her in 15:38.88. This time around, Ledecky was all alone start to finish and 11 seconds faster than she was just two years earlier.

Friis’ 2013 performance makes her the second best performer ever in the event, and she’s still over 13 seconds slower than Ledecky’s new world record swim.

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7 years ago

Her last 800 was still faster than other other women ever. Crazy fast.

7 years ago

If Katie had done her 2015 WC 1500 prelims and finals at the 2004 US Olympic Trials versus the boys:

Prelims (15:27.71):
5th overall, getting out-touched by PvK’s 15:27.63. She would have beat Lochte (15:28.37–his lifetime best), Rob Margalis, Fran Crippen, Justin Mortimer, Chris Thompson, John Cole, and a 17-year old Klueh

Finals (15:25.48):
Lochte and PvK scratch for the final. Katie’s finals time would have been 5th overall, 2.5 seconds behind Klete Keller.

7 years ago

Another epic swim from Katie Ledecky. There is no substitute for greatness.

7 years ago

Carlo & Adam: You both make substantive points. Having said that, consider the 800 meter freestyle progression for men and women since 1980 to present as well.

For men, the progression is 26 seconds. For women, it’s 13 seconds. 800 is not an Olympic event for men. It has been for women for since 1968.

To be sure, I think an asterisk needs to be applied to the men’s record due the supersuit issue, especially since Lin never came close to that prior to 2009 or since. 7:38 instead of 7:32 is probably the “real” record, so let’s put the men’s progression at 20 seconds.

To date, the men have the edge no matter how you cut… Read more »

7 years ago

ADAM B yes the women,s 1,500 meters freestyle world record has historically been soft but if you look at ledecky,s splits, her splits average 30 high,31 low. For a woman to put up a lot of 30 high splits is unheard of even though a lot of women don,t swim the 1500 free.

7 years ago

Ledecky’s improvement in the 1500 is intriguing compared to improvements the men have made in the last 35 years.

For instance, in 1980 the women’s 1500 meter freestyle was held by Kim Linehan with a time of 16:04.49. Prior to Ledecky’s slew of world records, Kate Ziegler’s 15:42 in 2007 was about 22 seconds faster than Linehan’s time in the old sponge lycra suit.

Ledecky then moved it to 15:36 (28 seconds), 15:34 (30 seconds), & 15:28 (36 seconds) in 2014. 15:36 & 15:34 are pretty much normalized progression compared to the men. Taking it down to 15:28 showed true evolution. 15:25 takes it a step farther. 40 seconds of improvement over 35 years.

By comparison, the… Read more »

Reply to  Anonymous
7 years ago

Sorry. Typed that up a bit too quickly. Ledecky’s true improvement to date compared to the world record in 1980 is 39 seconds, not 40 seconds.

Adam B
Reply to  Anonymous
7 years ago

I think it’s important to take into consideration that the 1500 is an Olympic event for men, but not for women. It was only added to the WC schedule relatively recently (2001?). More men than women train for the 1500 specifically. I would argue that historically the women’s 1500 record has been “soft.”

7 years ago

That last 10 meters was just plain ridiculous!

7 years ago

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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