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Olympic Swimming 2021: Women's 1,500m Freestyle Medal Winners, Times and Results

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 28, 2021

Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Katie Ledecky is once again the undisputed best long-distance swimmer in the world. 

In the first-ever women's 1500-meter freestyle at the Olympic Games, Ledecky entered as the presumptive favorite and easily blew away the field, finishing 4.07 seconds ahead of U.S. teammate Erica Sullivan—who made a dramatic comeback to claim the silver medal.

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

OLYMPIC HISTORY IS MADE‼️<a href="https://twitter.com/katieledecky?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@katieledecky</a> wins the first-EVER Olympic gold medal in the women's 1500m free and teammate Erica Sullivan wins the silver.<a href="https://twitter.com/TeamUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeamUSA</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OlympicHERstory?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OlympicHERstory</a> <a href="https://t.co/fTLlcWFgEg">pic.twitter.com/fTLlcWFgEg</a>

Coco Gauff @CocoGauff

KATIEEEE YOU DID THATTTTTT <a href="https://twitter.com/katieledecky?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@katieledecky</a>

Women's 1,500m Freestyle Final

1. Katie Ledecky (USA): 15:37.34

2. Erica Sullivan (USA): 15:41.41

3. Sarah Kohler (Germany): 15:42.91

4. Jianjiahe Wang (China): 15:46.37

5. Simona Quadarella (Italy): 15:53.97

6. Kiah Melverton (Australia): 16:00.36

7. Anastasiia Kirpichnikova (Russian Olympic Committee): 16:00.38

8. Maddy Gough (Australia): 16:05.81

Results via official Olympics website

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

SILVER for SULLIVAN! <br><br>Erica Sullivan earns a medal in the very first women's 1500m freestyle in Olympic history. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OlympicHERstory?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OlympicHERstory</a> <a href="https://t.co/AOhn1Hnpcd">pic.twitter.com/AOhn1Hnpcd</a>

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

PURE. DOMINANCE.<br><br>Katie Ledecky is the first Olympic champion in the women's 1500m freestyle! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/OlympicHERstory?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#OlympicHERstory</a> <a href="https://t.co/3LzAdPOsT8">pic.twitter.com/3LzAdPOsT8</a>

Ledecky won the sixth gold medal of her Olympics career barely an hour after failing to medal in the 200m freestyle final. She is now two gold medals from tying Jenny Thompson (8) for the most all-time by an American woman. 

Sullivan, meanwhile, saved her absolute best for the final laps of the grueling 1500. After posting splits between 31.56 and 32.01 through the first 500 meters, the 20-year-old began to make her move, soaring from fifth place to second place in just 250 meters with splits hovering around 31.03 across her final laps. 

After calmly finishing first a few seconds earlier, Ledecky went wild as she looked up and saw Sullivan taking second right behind her. 

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