Katie Ledecky Knocks Down 800-Meter World Record In Indianapolis
by Paul D. Bowker
Katie Ledecky celebrates after the women's 800-meter freestyle final at the 2022 FINA Swimming World Cup on Nov. 5, 2022 in Indianapolis.
The cheers rolled down from the crowd Saturday as seven-time Olympic champion Katie Ledecky blasted through the water at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis.
When she touched the wall to break a short-course swimming world record for the second time in a week, those cheers turned into a roar.
Ledecky won the 800-meter freestyle in a record time of 7:57.42, becoming the world record-holder of the 800 in both the short course and long course formats. She has won three Olympic gold medals and four world championships in the 800.
After breaking the record in a dominant FINA World Cup meet for U.S. swimmers, Ledecky pulled herself onto the pool deck and raised her arms to acknowledge the cheering spectators.
“All the fans cheered me on, it helped a lot,” said Ledecky, who broke the short-course record in the 1,500 freestyle by nearly 10 seconds last week in Toronto.
Victories by Ledecky in the 400 and 800 were among 17 American wins in the world cup season finale in Indianapolis, held Thursday through Saturday.
American Beata Nelson captured 12 medals over the three meets and won a $100,000 bonus as the world cup’s top-ranked woman. She completed sweeps of the 200 backstroke and 200 individual medley in Indianapolis with victories in both events on Saturday.
“It’s been so much fun. What a way to finish,” she said.
Nelson also won the 100 IM and finished second to U.S. Olympic silver medalist Bella Sims in the 100 backstroke on Friday.
Nic Fink, a 2020 Olympian, swept the men’s 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke events for the third world cup in a row to earn a $10,000 bonus check for each of the sweeps. He finished second in the men’s rankings behind Dylan Carter of Trinidad & Tobago, while Shaine Casas of the U.S. finished fourth.
Casas began the meet by winning the men’s 200 back and 100 IM on Thursday, then won the 100 back Saturday. He won nine gold medals over the three world cup stops.
“I’m just grateful to be out here and have this opportunity,” Casas said.
Also winning three times was Kieran Smith, who won the men’s 200 and 400 freestyles, and 200 IM.
U.S. swimmers topped the medals chart at all three world cup stops, and won 48 in Indianapolis. Over all three meets, Americans totaled 95 medals, including 41 wins.
Americans swept the top three spots in three events in Indianapolis: the women’s 400 free on Thursday, and women’s 200 backstroke and men’s 200 breaststroke on Saturday.
In addition to Ledecky’s world record in the 800 free Saturday, Sims broke junior world records Friday in the 200 free (1:52.59) and 100 back (55.75 seconds), and Katie Grimes set a junior world record Friday in a 1,500 freestyle time trial (15:42.05).
Sims, who made her Olympic debut last year on the 4x200 free relay team, won three medals, in her world cup debut. Sims totaled one gold and two silvers. She was the only one to defeat Nelson in the 100 back over three world cup meets.
Grimes, a 2020 Olympian, won silver medals in the 200 butterfly and 400 IM, and a bronze in the 200 back.
Two-time Olympic champion Lilly King won the women’s 200 breaststroke and took the silver medals in the 50 and 100 breast.
Bobby Finke, who won Olympic gold medals in the men’s 800 and 1,500 free last year in Tokyo, won the 1,500 in Indianapolis by nearly three seconds.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.