WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
July 30, 2013
For the second day in a row, a 16-year-old teenager broke a world record and won gold Tuesday at the 15th FINA World Long Course Swimming Championships at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona.
Katie Ledecky, 16, the world’s new distance queen, upstaged Missy Franklin by winning the 1500-meter freestyle in 15:36.53 to break the oldest standing world record.
Ledecky and Denmark’s Lotte Friis separated themselves from the rest of the field and battled it out until the final 50 meters when Ledecky reached for another gear for a 29.47 split.
Ledecky has now won the Olympic gold at the 2012 London Olympics and 400 title at worlds.
Friis was second in 15:38.88, a European record. Both broke the previous world mark of Kate Ziegler’s world record of 15:42.54 that had held up even through the techsuit era.
“The main goal was just to come out on top,” Ledecky said. “I knew we were going pretty fast and I figured whoever was going to come out on top was going to get the world record.
“I had to be careful not to push it too early, not to push it too late, and just touch the wall first. Around the last 200, I knew I could take off.”
“I’m still 16 so I hope I have plenty years left of swimming,” Ledecky said with a smile. “The world record means the world to me. Kate Ziegler, who had the world record, is from my area back home. I’ve looked up to her my whole life and I am really honored to break that world record and to keep it in Potomac Valley.”
Also winning gold for the U.S. on Tuesday was Missy Franklin, who led from start to finish, in the women’s 100-meter backstroke in 58.41 and Matt Grevers in the men’s 100-meter backstroke in 52.91.
In the men’s 200-meter freestyle, France’s Yannick Agnel won gold in 1:44.20 and his training partner at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, Connor Dwyer, came from seventh place to finish second in 1:45.32.
Both Agnel and Dwyer are coached by Bob Bowman. Russian Danila Izotov edged defending champion Ryan Lochte of Daytona Beach for the bronze in 1:45.59 to 1:45.64.
The U.S. finished Day Three with three gold medals, two silvers and one bronze. The U.S. team now has six gold, four silver and four bronze medals.
Day Four events are men’s 100-meter freestyle, women’s 50-meter backstroke, men’s 200-meter butterfly final, women’s 200-meter freestyle final, men’s 50-meter breaststroke final, women’s 200-meter butterfly, men’s 800-meter freestyle final.
Today’s TV Schedule: Wednesday, July 31, 12-2 p.m. live, Universal Sports.
200-meter freestyle: 1. Yannick Agnel, France 1:44.20, 2. Conor Dwyer, USA 1:45.32, 3. Danila Izotov, Russia 1:45.59.
100-meter backstroke: 1. Matt Grevers, USA 52.93, 2. David Plummer, USA 53.12, 3. Jeremy Stravius, France 53.21.
1500-meter freestyle: 1. Katie Ledecky, USA 15:36.53, world record, 2. Lotte Friis, Denmark 15:38.88, 3. Lauren Boyle, New Zealand 15:44.71.
100-meter backstroke: 1. Missy Franklin, USA 58.42, 2. Emily Seebohm, Australia 59.06, 3. Aya Terakawa, Japan 59.23.
100-meter breaststroke: 1. Ruta Meilutyte, Lithuania 1:04.42, 2. Yuliya Efimova, Russia 1:05.02, 3. Jessicca Hardy, USA 1:05.52.
American Cesilie Carlton, plunging the equivalent of a seven-story building, won the inaugural gold medal in the extreme sport of high diving at the world aquatic championships.
Carlton, 32, of San Antonio, Tex., who has vertigo and is afraid of heights and flying, won the inaugural event by plunging off a 20-meter platform into Barcelona’s murky harbor.
U.S. teammate Ginger Huber took the silver.
“I’m afraid of heights,” Carlton said. “That’s why I go very quickly. I don’t look down for a long time. But I know that I have control of what I am doing. The toughest part is looking over.”
Carlton clinched it on her final dive, a triple half pike, to total 211.60 points. She moved up from third place. Huber had 206.70 points and German Anna Bader took the bronze with 203.90.
The men’s competition off 27 meters concludes on Wednesday.
Sharon Robb can be reached at email@example.com