Ledecky cracks own 800m free world mark

Katie Ledecky swims in the Women's 800 meter freestyle final during the Arena Pro Swim Series on Jan 17, 2016, in Austin, Texas.
Katie Ledecky swims in the Women's 800 meter freestyle final during the Arena Pro Swim Series on Jan 17, 2016, in Austin, Texas.PHOTO: AFP

LOS ANGELES • Katie Ledecky crushed her own women's 800m freestyle world record on Sunday, clocking a stunning 8min 6.68sec to win at the Pro Swim meet in Austin, Texas.

The 18-year-old American obliterated the previous record of 8:07.39 that she set on Aug 8 at last year's World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

"It was exciting," she said. "It's always exciting when you can get pushed along by a crowd like this in Austin."

Ledecky, who was the youngest member of the US Olympic delegation in London four years ago, is on course to build her Games legacy as well.

She now owns the eight fastest performances ever in the 800m free and nine of the top 10. She also holds the world record in the 400m free and the non-Olympic women's event of 1,500m free.

In Rio this year, she could line up in the 200m, 400m and 800m freestyle events - and perhaps even the 100m free, in which she finished second in Austin this week.

"I was feeling good going into it," said Ledecky, who romped home easily, with US open-water 10km champion Becca Mann a distant second in 8:24.49.

"Whenever I get going like that, I get into a good rhythm with my freestyle. My stroke just feels good the whole weekend once I have one or two really good freestyle swims."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2016, with the headline 'Ledecky cracks own 800m free world mark'. Print Edition | Subscribe