Ledecky broke the field in an event he hasn’t lost at the Worlds or the Olympics in more than a decade.
FUKUOKA, Japan — Katie Ledecky won the gold medal in the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle to dominate the World Aquatics Championships on a day that saw compatriot Ryan Murphy triumph in the men’s 100m backstroke.
Ledecky led throughout his race on Tuesday to win in 15 minutes 26.27 seconds. The victory was his 15th individual world championship title, equaling the mark set by Michael Phelps.
Ledecky broke the field in an event he hasn’t lost at the Worlds or the Olympics in more than a decade. His fifth 1500m win tied the record for most Worlds wins in a single event.
The Italian Simona Quadarella finished 17 seconds behind Ledecky in 15:43.31, with the Chinese Li Bingjie third in 15:45.71.
Ledecky will compete in the 800m on Saturday as he looks to become the only person to win six worlds titles in the same event.
Murphy overtook world record holder Thomas Ceccon of Italy in the final 20 meters of the 100m backstroke to narrowly prevail in 52.22. Ceccon took the silver in 52.27 with the American Hunter Armstrong third in 52.58.
Murphy will be the favorite in the 200 later in the worlds.
Ruta Meilutyte of Lithuania took gold in the women’s 100m breaststroke in 1:04.62, ahead of South Africa’s Tatjana Schoenmaker and third-placed Lydia Jacoby of the United States
Australian Kaylee McKeown won the women’s 100m backstroke in 57.53, beating the American Regan Smith and her compatriot Katharine Berkoff by 0.25, third in 58.25.
Great Britain’s Matthew Richards and Tom Dean finished 1-2 in the men’s 200m freestyle in a major upset, with South Korea’s Hwang Sunwoo taking third place.
David Popovici of Romania, last year’s world champion, was seen as the favorite going into the race and led until he faded in the last 15 meters when Richards, Dean and Hwang all passed to deny fourth-placed Popovici a podium place.
Richards won gold in 1:44.30.