BUDAPEST – Katie Ledecky regained the 400m freestyle crown to open the World Swimming Championships in the absence of an opponent Ariarne Titmus of Australia.
Ledecky wins championship record 3 minutes, 58.15 seconds, beating 15-year-old Canadian McIntosh Summer by 1.24 seconds. American Leah Smith took the bronze, matching its finish from the 2016 Olympic Games and the 2019 Worlds.
“I just wanted to start the match with a good note,” said Ledecky, who is expected to swim in four races during the eight-day competition. “I was in a little pain, but I’m very happy and I could not be happier to have Leah on the podium with me.”
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Also on Saturday, a 20-year-old Frenchman Leon Marsad was established as a star in view of the Paris Games in 2024.
Marchand, swimming in the state of Arizona down Michael Phelpslong-term coach Bob Bowmanwon the 400m medley in 4: 04.28, the second-best time in history behind Phelps’s world record 4: 03.84.
Americans Carson Foster and Chase Callis (Tokyo Olympian) took silver and bronze.
Marchand was below the Phelps record at 350 meters, almost eliminating Phelps’s last individual record and the last overall record from the 2008 Olympics from books.
“Talking to [Phelps] a little further [text] “and he always sends some messages to Bob,” Marchand said.
Australian Elijah Winnington took the men’s 400m freestyle in 3: 41.22, the best time in the world since 2012. Winning was seventh at the Tokyo Olympics.
In the 4x100m freestyle relay, US men, led by Caeleb Dressel, beat Australia by 1.46 seconds. The United States has won the Olympics and the world since Dressel joined the cast in 2016.
Favorable Australia took the women’s 4x100m freestyle despite not having a seven-time Tokyo Olympian Emma McKeon, who along with Titmus bypasses worlds to focus on the Commonwealth Games. Australia won by 1.20 seconds over Canada, with a young US quartet taking bronze, just as a more experienced quartet did in Tokyo.
Ledecky won her 16th career gold medal at the World Championships and her 12th in individual events, breaking her last draw with China. Sun Yang for the second time in history behind Phelps’s 15 individual world titles. Ledecky has two other individual events in Budapest, the 800m and the 1500m freestyle.
This marked Ledecky’s first gold in the 400m freestyle at a major international event since 2018. He took silver after the Titmus at the 2019 World Games and the Tokyo Olympics.
Last month, Titmus broke Ledecky’s 400m freestyle world record by reducing it by six inches to 3: 56.40.
Titmus and some other Australian stars are bypassing the world to give priority to the Commonwealth Games later this summer. Ledecky and Titmus are not expected to compete against each other until the 2023 World Cup in Japan.
“Focus may be on everyone else’s time, but for me it was not the time this year,” said Ledecky, who moved from Stanford to Florida after winning two gold and four medals at the Tokyo Olympics. “It’s just to find my brain, to find my rhythm and not to limit what I can do.”
Worlds continue on Sunday, including Dressel in the 50m butterfly final and fellow Americans Tori Huske and Claire Kerzan in the final of 100m.
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Katie Ledecky repeats the 400 meters freestyle in the world of swimming. Michael Phelps’s latest record hit first appeared on NBCSports.com