Katie Ledecky is paving the road to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris in gold.
Ledecky tied American swimmer Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, for the most individual world titles earlier this week with her victory in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
However, with her final individual event, the women’s 800-meter freestyle, still ahead of her, Lececky stands to break that tie and more.
“It feels great, I’m just really enjoying swimming right now and especially my distance events, I’ve just been feeling great,” Ledecky told NBC Sports after winning gold with a time of 15 minutes, 26.27 seconds.
“I feel like I’m getting better each time I swim them and that’s what you love to see. You love to see improvement and that’s been my biggest goal over the last couple of years.”
Ledecky beat the second-place finisher by 17 seconds, the third-quickest time of her career in that event. The victory also means that Ledecky is the first person to win five world titles in two different events.
Now, Ledecky has the opportunity to break another record in the 800-meter freestyle on Saturday – her best event.
Ledecky set the world record in the 800 meter with her gold medal finish at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, where she finished with a time of 8:04.79. A win on Saturday will mark her 16th individual world title and her sixth in a single event, another record.
“It’s an honor. I’ve known Michael for many years now, looked up to him as a little kid,” Ledecky said in a press conference after tying Phelps on Tuesday.
“Just never really imagined I would be in this position. It’s always an honor to win a medal for Team USA, especially gold. Just going to keep going and continue to do my best every time I race.”