Katie Ledecky has never waited this long for a race to end at a major international meet.
Ledecky not only crushed the field in the 1500m freestyle heats at the world championships — winning by 17 seconds — but she also had to wait 97 seconds for the last woman to touch the wall.
Watch as Ledecky hits the 1400-meter mark — signified by a bell ringer at her lane (1:15 mark). Then, she finished the grueling 1500m with another bell ringing. That’s because a swimmer in another lane hit 1400 meters as Ledecky finished.
But that’s not all. Yet another swimmer, Algerian Souad Nefissa Cherouati, lagged even more in lane 9. Her bell rang another 18 seconds later, and then she needed another 70 seconds to complete her last lap.
Ledecky’s time of 15:47.54, was the ninth-fastest of her career and 22 seconds off her world record. Still, it’s 13 seconds faster than any other woman has swum this year.
Ledecky is a huge favorite in the final on Tuesday.
Here are the longest times between the finishes of Ledecky and last-place finishers in her major international meet career:
2012 Olympics — 18 seconds (800m freestyle heats)
2013 Worlds — 84 seconds (1500m freestyle heats)
2014 Pan Pacific Champs — 76 seconds (1500m freestyle heats)
2015 Worlds — 82 seconds (1500m freestyle heats)
2016 Olympics — 22 seconds (800m freestyle final)
2017 Worlds — 97 seconds (1500m freestyle heats)
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