Ledecky reclaims 400 title at swimming worlds, eyeing more

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Katie Ledecky started the United States’ medal collection at the world swimming championships with a gold by reclaiming her title in the women’s 400 meters on Saturday.

The Americans finished the first day of racing with two gold, one silver and three bronze.


Ledecky clocked 3 minutes, 58.15 seconds — nearly two seconds off the world record — for her fourth world title in the 400 freestyle after 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Ariarne Titmus pipped Ledecky to the title in 2019 and took her world record last month but the Australian has skipped the worlds in Budapest to focus on the Commonwealth Games next month in England.

“It’s great to get the first gold medal for the U.S. team,” said Ledecky, who said she’s working on reclaiming her record, too. “I’m on the right track.”

Winning the 400 gave Ledecky her 16th gold at a worlds and 18th overall. She’s just one behind Natalie Coughlin for the most all-time medals by a female swimmer in world championships history.

Ledecky next turns attention to a potential fifth consecutive world title in the 1500 with heats on Sunday before the final on Monday.

Canadian 15-year-old Summer McIntosh clocked under 4 minutes for silver behind Ledecky.

“I just wanted to have fun and race and push and hang on with the others,” McIntosh said.

Both were well ahead of the competition, with American Leah Smith 3.93 behind Ledecky in third and Australia’s Lani Pallister finishing fourth.

The American relay team of Caeleb Dressel, Ryan Held, Justin Ress and Brooks Curry won the men’s 4×100 freestyle final, clocking 3:09.34 to finish ahead of the Australians in second and Italians in third.

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