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Teen US swimmer smashes 1,500m freestyle world record in Barcelona

July 31, 2013
Latest Update: July 31, 2013 11:28 pm

Katie Ledecky of the United States is all smiles after breaking a world record on her way to winning gold in the 1,500m freestyle event at the world swimming championships in Barcelona. AFP pic, July 31, 2013.Katie Ledecky of the United States is all smiles after breaking a world record on her way to winning gold in the 1,500m freestyle event at the world swimming championships in Barcelona. AFP pic, July 31, 2013.Sixteen-year-old swimming sensation Katie Ledecky capped another great night for American swimmers at the world championships in Barcelona by smashing the women's 1,500m freestyle world record.

The Washington born swimmer broke Kate Ziegler's six-year-old mark of 15 minutes 42.54 seconds by an amazing six seconds in the race of the night as Denmark's Lotte Friis only took silver despite also bettering Ziegler's record by nearly four seconds.

"I knew we were going pretty fast," said a beaming Ledecky as she took her gold medal tally at the championships to two after also storming to victory in the 400m freestyle on Sunday.

"We separated ourselves from the field early and I felt whoever touched the wall first was going to get that record."

Friis though was left with the most bittersweet taste having produced an extraordinary swim of her own.

"It was really mixed emotions when Katie got the plaque up there because I think I deserve one too," lamented the champion from two years ago in Shanghai.

On a night filled with US success, Missy Franklin also stayed on track in her attempt to match Michael Phelps' record eight gold medal haul from the Beijing Olympics five years ago.

The 18-year-old picked up her first individual gold of the meet in the 100m backstroke, having also been part of the 4x100m relay winning American side on Sunday, and was back in the pool barely 20 minutes later to seal her place in the final of Wednesday night's 200m freestyle final.

Rather than concentrating on her own success though, Franklin was desperate to talk about Ledecky.

"Watching her grow up over the past year or so has been so amazing and watching her swim tonight I knew that record was going down. I'm so proud of her and what she's achieved."

America's gold rush continued as they picked up gold in a third successive race when Matt Grevers edged out teammate David Plummer to take the men's 100m backstroke with Frenchman Jeremy Stravius back in third.

And with Team USA being spearheaded by the teenage duo of Franklin and Ledecky, Grevers was happy to register a first gold of the meet for the US men who have suffered in a first major championships without the retired Phelps.

"Its' been a great day for the USA. It is a big team and the girls are doing great, especially Missy and Katie," he said.

"For the men we're obviously missing Michael so there are some gaps there.

"Ryan (Lochte) has had a very active year out of the pool so we can't expect the same from him and a lot of people need to step up to try and fill that gap. It's great David and I have been able to do that tonight."

Another teenage Olympic champion validated her title from last year's London Olympics as Lithuania's Ruta Meilutyte claimed gold in the 100m breaststroke in a time just outside of the world record she set in her semi-final swim on Monday with Russia's Yulia Efimova in second and American Jessica Hardy taking bronze.

And it was also a successful night for France as Stravius' bronze had been preceded by Yannick Angel claiming gold in the men's 200m freestyle.

The Olympic champion just edged out training partner Connor Dwyer, whose silver took the USA's medal tally for the night to six, with Russia's Danila Izotov taking bronze.

In the night's semi-finals, South African duo Chad Le Clos and Cameron Van Der Burgh cemented their status as favourites for the 200m butterfly and 50m breaststroke as they qualified fastest in their respective events.

However, the surprise of the evening came in the women's 200m freestyle as Katinka Hosszu, who had cruised to 200m individual medley gold on Monday night, missed out on the final after registering only the ninth fastest time in qualifying. - AFP, July 31, 2013.

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