Ledecky back with 16th world gold for US

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Olympic silver medallist Katie Ledecky has powered to victory in the women's 400 metres freestyle on the opening day of the swimming world championships in Budapest to capture a record-extending 16th gold medal.

Ledecky, 25, was already the most successful female swimmer coming into the world championships and now has 19 medals in total.

Only her male compatriots Michael Phelps (26 titles) and Ryan Lochte (18) have won more golds.

Ledecky took full advantage of the absence of Australia's world and Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus on Saturday to reclaim her title in 3 minutes 58.15 seconds, finishing ahead of Canadian 15-year-old Summer McIntosh.

American Leah Smith was third, nearly four seconds behind her compatriot, with Australian Lani Pallister fourth.

"It feels good. It's the fastest I've ever been at worlds so I'm really happy with that and really excited about the rest of the week I have ahead of me," Ledecky said.

"Summer is now in the sub four-minute club so it's only going to get harder. I know I have my work cut out for me."

Titmus, who set the world record of 3:56.40 at her national championships last month to eclipse Ledecky's mark, denied fans another showdown with her rival after opting to skip the worlds to prepare for next month's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Ledecky was on course to reclaim the record halfway through her race before her pace dropped slightly, but she staved off a strong challenge from McIntosh to claim a fourth world title in the event, having settled for silver in 2019.

The US men's 4x100m freestyle team of Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held, Justin Ress and Brooks Curry also briefly threatened to break the world record but eventually finished 1.1 seconds shy of the mark to bag the gold ahead of the fast-finishing Australians, clocking 3:09.34.

Frenchman Leon Marchand won the 400m medley with a championship record time of 4:04.28 - the second quickest in history - to beat Americans Carson Foster and Chase Kalisz to the top of the podium and claim his first world title.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting