American swimmer Katie Ledecky broke her own world record in the 1,500-meter freestyle at the FINA world championships in Kazan, Russia, on Monday, as she touched the final wall at 15 minutes, 27.71 seconds, .65 seconds better than her previous record.
It's the fourth time Ledecky has broken the 1,500 meter record, the previous time smashing the record at the Pan Pacific championships in Australia last year. The 1,500 meter-freestyle is not an Olympic race for women, but is for men.
The second place finisher in Ledecky’s heat, Jessica Ashwood of Australia, finished almost 30 seconds and more than a lap behind Ledecky at 15:56.52 to qualify third for the finals. Denmark's Lotte Friis qualified second for the final at 15:54.23 in a different heat.
Ledecky, 18, will have another chance to break the record during the final and has already won gold in these world championships in the 400-meter freestyle.
"It's probably one of the coolest world records I've broken," Ledecky said, according to the Associated Press. "Each one is really unique, but just sort of how relaxed and calm I was it's pretty neat and hopefully I can carry that energy through the rest of the week."
Ledecky holds two other world records in addition to the 1,500 meter freestyle mark: in the 400-meter freestyle and 800-meter freestyle. She also has a gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle from the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Ledecky will compete in the 200-meter free semifinals against teammate and fellow Olympic Gold medalist Missy Franklin on Tuesday.
"The 200 is going to be a big race," Ledecky said. "I should have 20 minutes in between and that should be plenty of time."
- Scooby Axson