Katie Ledecky becomes most decorated woman in World Championships history

June 26, 2022, 6:37 p.m.

Katie Ledecky ’20 earned her 21st World Championship medal in the 4×200 freestyle relay on Wednesday and became the most decorated female swimmer in World Championship history. Past and present Cardinal swimmers have now claimed six golds, one silver and two bronzes at the 2022 FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. 

Ledecky makes history

Ledecky helped Team USA take gold in the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay on Wednesday. The team of Ledecky, Leah Smith, Claire Weinstein and Bella Sims swam a time of 7:41.45.

Ledecky split a time of 1:53.67, which was the fastest of the field and the quickest she’s ever swam on a relay. It is the third-fastest split in the history of the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay.

“It’s awesome,” Ledecky said to USA Swimming following the relay. “It’s so easy to get up for these relays. I have so much trust in these three [teammates] and I’m so glad we delivered.”

With the relay win, Ledecky earned her 21st World Championship medal, surpassing Natalie Coughlin to become the most decorated female swimmer in World Championship history. Across all swimmers, Ledecky now trails only Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, who have 33 and 27 Worlds medals respectively. 

Earlier in the meet, Ledecky won gold in both the women’s 400-meter and 1500-meter freestyle.

Taylor Ruck ʼ22 competed in the women’s 4×200 freestyle relay as well, representing Canada. She posted a split of 1:56.75 and earned bronze alongside Summer McIntosh, Kayla Sanchez and Penny Oleksiak. 

Ruck also finished seventh in the individual 200-meter freestyle race on Tuesday, swimming a 1:57.24.

Huske and Curzan win mixed relay gold

Rising sophomore Torri Huske and incoming freshman Claire Curzan were both on Team USA’s mixed medley relay team, which won gold with a time of 3:38.79 on Tuesday. In theA mixed medley relay, is a relay in which every ach teamcountry is comprised of competes with two male and two female swimmers, who each swimming a different stroke (backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly or freestyle). Huske and Curzan were the two female swimmers for Team USA, teaming up with male swimmers Hunter Armstrong and Nic Fink. Huske swam the butterfly and Curzan the freestyle.

Huske split 56.17, the fastest time out of the four women swimming butterfly across the relay. Curzan recorded a time of 52.62 in freestyle, the second-fastest time across seven female freestylers. 

“I was super grateful for the lead,” Curzan told USA Swimming regarding her freestyle leg, as Team USA was already winning the relay by a large margin before she dove in. “The 100 free is a tough race but hearing the crowd and feeling the energy carried me home.”

Other contributors

In the semifinals of the men’s 200-meter individual medley on Tuesday, rising sophomore Ron Polonsky clocked a time of 1:57.99 to finish ninth for Israel. Although he missed out on the finals by a small margin, his time was a new Israeli record, besting Gal Nevo’s previous mark of 1:58.25 set during the 2009 World Championships.

Polonsky and Jon Cook ’22, who represents the Philippines, competed in the 200-meter breaststroke on Wednesday. Polonsky was disqualified in the preliminary heats, while Cook clocked a time of 2:19.95 to finish 33rd.

Rising sophomore Regan Smith competed in the finals for the 50-meter backstroke and the 200-meter butterfly on Wednesday. She tied for fifth in the 50-meter backstroke, swimming 27.45, and finished fourth in the 200-meter butterfly, with a time of 2:06.79.

Yanyan Li is a high schooler writing as part of the Daily's Summer Journalism Workshop. Contact them at workshop 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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