Katie Ledecky makes swimming history to leave sporting world in awe

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Pictured left, Katie Ledecky in action at the swimming world championships in Budapest.
Katie Ledecky swam her way into the history books at the world championships in Budapest. Pic: CBS/Getty

American swimming phenomenon Katie Ledecky has cemented her status as one of the greatest female sporting stars of all time after re-writing history at the world swimming championships in Budapest.

Ledecky was part of the USA's 4x200m freestyle relay team that claimed gold at the world championships in Hungary.

'THAT WAS WILD': Swimming in disbelief over 'insane' moment

WHAT A SWIM: Aussie makes history in never-before-seen feat

The win saw Ledecky claim her 21st career world swimming championships medal, making her the most decorated female swimmer of all time.

The American's gold saw her go one clear of Natalie Coughlin for the most medals in world championships history for a woman.

The 25-year-old has dropped the 200m from her individual program to focus on the longer distances in the pool.

However, she returned to spearhead the relay team and ended up setting the third-fastest split in the history of the event.

It was the 18th world championships gold in Ledecky's glittering career, equalling American men's great, Ryan Lochte.

Ledecky's 21 world championships medals overall is only bettered by two men: Michael Phelps (33) and Lochte (27).

The 25-year-old has won gold in each of the three events she has competed in at the 2022 world championships, following individual victories in the 400m and 1500m freestyle events.

Ledecky's extraordinary feat sent social media into a frenzy.

Aussie Mollie O'Callaghan picks up third medal

The Australian 4x200m freestyle relay team finished second behind Ledecky's Americans, giving Mollie O'Callaghan her third medal of the world championships.

Queensland's O'Callaghan took the limelight as she attempted to top off the efforts of Madi Wilson, Leah Neale and Kiah Melverton on the previous three legs of the 4x200 by overhauling American anchor-leg swimmer Bella Sims.

But having competed a breathtaking semi-final of the 100m only 90 minutes earlier, O'Callaghan, the individual 200m silver medallist, couldn't get near the flying Sims.

After fine work from Claire Weinstein, Leah Smith and Ledecky, who produced a decisive third leg, Sims brought the US home in a championship record 7 minutes 41.45 seconds, well clear of Australia (7:43.86).

"Coming in here I knew I would be swimming against Ledecky on that third leg and she is one of the best swimmers of all time," Melverton said.

"I just did what I needed to do and held my ground and I thought I did a pretty good job of that. The 4x2 has such a great history in our country and so for us to get up and win a Silver medal together is pretty special."

Pictured here, Aussie silver medallists Madison Wilson, Leah Neale, Kiah Melverton and Mollie O'Callaghan in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay.
Madison Wilson, Leah Neale, Kiah Melverton and Mollie O'Callaghan claimed silver for Australia in the women's 4x200m freestyle relay final. Pic: Getty

O'Callaghan, though, had earlier produced an astonishing performance in her individual semi, clocking the fastest-ever second half to a women's race, amazingly shooting from last to first place over a landmark final length timed at 26.43sec.

That was just one-hundredth of a second slower than her first half of the race and her 52.85sec saw her qualify fastest for Thursday's final, ahead of Sweden's eight-time world champion Sarah Sjostrom.

Having also won gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay, O'Callaghan could potentially end up with six medals as she also has chances in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay and women's 4x100m medley relay.

The Dolphins have now picked up eight medals in total - two golds, five silvers and one bronze - after five days of competition to put them fourth on the table behind the USA (11 golds), Italy (four golds) and China (three golds).

with AAP

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

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