If it was possible to lap the field at a swimming event, Katie Ledecky nearly accomplished that feat during the women's 800-meter freestyle at the 2022 World Championships on Friday.
The American superstar won gold with a time of 8 minutes, 8.04 seconds, almost 11 seconds faster than silver medalist Kiah Melverton of Australia (8:18.77).
USA Swimming @USASwimming
𝐔𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐚𝐛𝐥𝐞. 😤<a href="https://twitter.com/katieledecky?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@katieledecky</a> wins her 𝐟𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐡 800m free title in 8:08.04!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FINABudapest2022?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FINABudapest2022</a> <a href="https://t.co/ScjR6SapfN">pic.twitter.com/ScjR6SapfN</a>
Christine Brennan @cbrennansports
We need some good news. Here’s some good news: Katie Ledecky doing Katie Ledecky things at the world championships. Her signature event, the 800 free. Wins by a mile. Her fifth-fastest time ever and fastest in four years. Dominating at 25 with the Paris Olympics two years away. <a href="https://t.co/jQhEsu6X74">pic.twitter.com/jQhEsu6X74</a>
The win gave Ledecky her fourth gold medal at the 2022 championship and 22 career medals at the World Championships.
Bill Mallon @bambam1729
With win in women’s 800 FS, Katie Ledecky achieves following @ WC:<br><br>19 gold medals – surpasses Ryan Lochte’s 18, trails only Michael Phelps’ 26<br><br>22 medals – 3rd all-time aftr Phelps 33, Lochte 27<br><br>14th individual gold medal – trails only Phelps 15<br><br>All above r female records 1/n
On Thursday, Ledecky broke the women's record for most career medals won at the World Championships. She captured her 21st medal in the 4x200 free relay when the United States squad finished first.
Friday was the cherry on top of what has been an incredible week for the 25-year-old. She entered the 800 free as a heavy favorite after winning gold in this event at each of the previous four World Championships dating back to 2013.
In the qualifying heats for the 800 on Thursday, Ledecky finished seven seconds faster than the No. 2 swimmer (Lani Pallister). Her qualifying time of 8:17.51 would have been good enough to win gold in the final.
Ledecky's 19 gold medals are the second-most by a female swimmer in World Championships history. Synchronized swimmer Svetlana Romashina won 21 golds from 2005-19.
The Stanford alum has wrapped up her event schedule for this week in Budapest, Hungary. She was originally expected to compete in the 200 free after winning at the U.S. swimming trials in April, but she was dropped from the event when the roster was released in May.
After the Tokyo Olympics last summer, Ledecky announced her intention to compete at the 2024 Paris Games. She already has 10 medals in her Olympic career, including seven golds.
The Maryland native needs one more gold to tie Jenny Thompson's all-time Olympic record for female swimmers. She is only two medals away from tying Thompson and Dara Torres for most all-time by a female Olympic swimmer (12).