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Swimming

Ledecky Breaks 800m Freestyle World Record

Katie Ledecky broke her own world record to claim the 800m freestyle world title. It was her fifth gold medal in Kazan.
Katie Ledecky broke her own world record to claim the 800m freestyle world title. It was her fifth gold medal in Kazan. Reuters/Hannibal Hanschke

Katie Ledecky capped an impressive world swimming championship performance with her fifth gold medal. The American's feats eclipsed those of the French Olympic champion  Florent Manadou who claimed his third gold of the meeting with victory in the men's 50m freestyle.

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The world swimming championships in the Russian city of Kazan close on Sunday with a splash of intriguing showdowns.

The partisans will be in full voice as Ruta Meilutyte takes on her fellow Russian Yuliya Efimova in the women's 50m breaststroke while Australia's Mitch Larkin bids for a third backstroke gold in the 50m sprint.

China's Sun Yang also faces a battle to retain his 1500m freestyle world crown having been only the third fastest qualifier into the final.

But the 23-year-old remains the name to beat having already retained his 400 and 800m world titles. While Sun contemplates a possible treble, Katie Ledecky is basking in the glory of an unprecedented haul from the freestyle events.

The 18-year-old American broke her own 800m freestyle world record to take a historic fifth gold medal.

She clocked clocked eight minutes, 07.39 seconds to shave 2.61secs off the record she set last year.

New Zealand's Lauren Boyle took silver and Britain's Jaz Carlin was third.

It was the third time that the American had broken a world record at the championships, and the 10th time in her career.

She is the first swimmer to win the freestyle sweep of 200, 400, 800 and 1500m world titles, while she also won gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay.

She holds the hat-trick of world records in the 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle, despite having only graduated from high school recently. She has yet to get her driving licence.

"I didn't have any pressure but it would have been cool to go swim 8:08," she revealed."It was 8 August, I was swimming the 800m and believe it or not it would have been my grandfather's 88th birthday."

Having won four gold medals at the Barcelona world championships two years ago, Ledecky has gone one better in Kazan by adding the 200m crown to her haul.

"I am really happy to finish on such a great note," she said. "I couldn't be happier with how that swim went or how the whole meet has gone.

"I set very high goals a couple of years ago after Barcelona and I still have a way to go. "I am slowly chipping away at those and this was a great stepping stone towards Olympic trials.”

It was a sign of Ledecky's dominance that second-placed Boyle set a new Oceania record of 8:17.65, but still finished just over 10 seconds behind the American.

"Katie is an amazing woman to swim with and I am really happy that I got to share the experience with her and see her success," said the 27-year-old New Zealander.

"After seeing her breaking the 1500m world record twice, everybody knew that she could swim much faster in 800m.”

France's Florent Manaudou added the world 50m freestyle crown on Saturday night to add to his London 2012 gold medal.

Manaudou clocked 21.19 seconds finishing ahead of Nathan Adrian from the United States and the Brazilian Bruno Fratus.

It was the 24-year-old French sprinter's third gold in the Kazan pool having already secured the 50m butterfly title. He also helped France win the 4x100m freestyle relay last Sunday.

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