Katie Ledecky is on a roll.
The 20-year-old American swimmer made history on Tuesday, snagging her 12th gold medal at the swimming world championships, the most achieved by any woman ever.
Ledecky clinched the gold after annihilating the competition in the 1,500-meter freestyle ― an event she already holds the world record in ― at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. She bested runner-up, Spain’s Mireia Belmonte, by a staggering 19 seconds.
Ledecky’s time, 15:31.82, was the fourth fastest in the event’s history. Ledecky’s win also made her the first three-peat winner in the event, reported CNN.
Silver medalist Belmonte said she had gone into the race assuming she would not win it.
“Katie Ledecky is on another planet so the goal of the race was to win the silver medal. For me, it is gold,” Belmonte told AFP.
Images from the 1,500-meter race showed Ledecky far ahead of her rivals. When she won, the other competitors were so far behind, most weren’t even pictured on the screen.
The gold medal was Ledecky’s third at this year’s world championships. She also came in first in the 400-meter free and the 4x100-meter free relay. Her time in the 400-meter free was a championship record.
Ledecky’s medal tally is likely to grow before the conclusion of the championships. On Wednesday, she clinched the top semifinal time in the 200-meter freestyle. She is also slated to compete in the 800-meter free and the 800-meter free relay.
Winning six golds at the championships would be a record-tying achievement for Ledecky, a record currently held by fellow Team USA swimmer Missy Franklin, AP reported. Prior to Tuesday, Franklin also held the record for most gold medals won at the world championships. Recovery from shoulder surgery kept Franklin from competing at the world championships this year.
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