Katie Ledecky Sets Olympic Record During 1500m Freestyle Heat Following Silver Medal Finish

Katie Ledecky won her heat in the 1500m freestyle, which is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo

Katie Ledecky
Katie Ledecky. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty

Katie Ledecky is making Olympic history.

The 24-year-old swimmer won her heat in the women's 1500m freestyle at the Tokyo Summer Games on Monday — and set an Olympic record in the process. This year marks the Olympic debut of the event, which has been part of the world championship competition since 2001.

The five-time gold medalist completed the race in 15:35.35. However, Ledecky has the capability of bringing in a much faster time as she currently holds the world record for the event: 15:20.48.

Her teammate Erica Sullivan also advanced to the finals with a time of 15:46.67.

The heat took place shortly after Ledecky competed in the women's 400m freestyle final — one of three events in which she is both the world record holder and the defending Olympic gold medalist.

However, in a shocking end to the race, she finished in second place behind Australian Ariarne Titmus, missing out on the gold by just 0.67 seconds.

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Monday's silver was Ledecky's first individual silver medal at an Olympic Games.

OMAHA, NEBRASKA - JUNE 14: Katie Ledecky of the United States competes in a preliminary heat for the Women’s 400m freestyle during Day Two of the 2021 U.S. Olympic Team Swimming Trials at CHI Health Center on June 14, 2021 in Omaha, Nebraska
Tom Pennington/Getty

Although she didn't end up winning, Ledecky told reporters that she still "delivered" by bringing home a medal.

"I couldn't do much better than that," she said, adding that she "can't be too disappointed" by the results.

"It was my second best swim ever (in 400m freestyle). I felt like I fought tooth and nail and that's all you can ask for," she continued. "Of course you always want to hear your national anthem, but I'm proud of how I swam and how I got to that point. It's not an easy journey, it's never an easy journey to the podium, and so it's not something I take for granted, being up there."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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