It was a ho-hum Thursday for Katie Ledecky.
Ledecky swam her first 1500m freestyle in nearly two years and won by 37.24 seconds at a Pro Series meet in Santa Clara, Calif. She clocked the fifth-fastest time ever, trailing only the last four instances where she broke the world record in the event.
Ledecky touched the wall in 15 minutes, 35.65 seconds on Thursday. Second-place Kristel Kobrich was more than a full length of the pool behind and stopped the clock in 16:12.89. Full results are here.
The Chilean Kobrich is no slouch, having finished seventh in the 1500m free at the 2015 World Championships.
Ledecky’s still-standing world record from the 2015 Worlds, 15:25.48, is more than 10 seconds faster than her own time Thursday and more than 13 seconds faster than any other woman has posted. Ledecky’s time Thursday was the fastest in the world this year by 28 seconds.
The women’s 1500m free is not an Olympic event, so Ledecky did not swim it at all in 2016. The 1500m free is a men’s event at the Olympics, while the women swim the 800m free.
Ledecky and other swimmers are competing in Santa Clara in preparation for the U.S. Championships in Indianapolis in four weeks. The top two per individual event in Indianapolis qualify for the world championships in Budapest in July.
Ledecky is expected to try and replicate her Ledecky Slam from the 2015 Worlds, where she became the first swimmer to sweep the 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m frees at a single global meet.
Ledecky, a 20-year-old rising Stanford sophomore, has broken 13 worlds records among the 400m, 800m and 1500m frees. She’s nearly halfway to Michael Phelps‘ tally of 29 individual world records.
Since 2013, Ledecky has lowered the women’s 1500m free world record by 17.06 seconds from 15:42.54 (set by Kate Ziegler in 2007, in the super-suit era, which lowered Janet Evans‘ 1988 mark by nearly 10 seconds).
Ledecky is entered in one more race in Santa Clara, the 200m free on Saturday.
The Santa Clara finals on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will stream on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app from 8-9:30 p.m. ET. NBCSN will also carry the Friday and Sunday finals live, with the Saturday finals airing on 1:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.
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