Budapest, Hungary. Katie Ledecky began her gold medal run for Team USA at the World Swimming Championships by regaining the title in the women’s 400m.
Ledecky clocked 3 minutes 58.15 seconds on Saturday’s first day of racing to capture her fourth 400m freestyle world title after 2013, 2015 and 2017.
Ariarna Titmus overtook Ledecky in 2019 and set her world record last month, but the Australian skipped the World Championships in Budapest to focus on next month’s Commonwealth Games in England.
15-year-old Canadian Summer McIntosh finished 1.24 seconds behind Ledecky to take silver. Both of them were well ahead of the competition: American Lea Smith, 3.93 points behind Ledecky, finished third, while Australian Lani Pallister finished fourth.
Elijah Winnington of Australia took the first gold of the evening as he raced home the last distance of the men’s 400m over German Lukas Martens. Winnington clocked 3 minutes 41.22 seconds, a personal best and third in the world.
“I tried to keep up with the Aussie but he eventually swam away,” said Martens, who finished 1.63 seconds back.
The third was the Brazilian Guilherme Costa.
None of the 2019 medalists raced. Sun Yang of China was disqualified for a doping violation, Australia’s Mac Horton — the 2016 Olympic champion — failed to qualify by 0.10 seconds and Gabriele Detti did not compete.
Britain’s Benjamin Proud was 0.03 seconds faster than American star Caleb Dressel and Italy’s Thomas Ceccon in the semifinals of the men’s 50m butterfly. Final on Sunday.
American Torrey Haske became the fastest in the women’s 100m butterfly semi-finals.
Other finals, including relays, were scheduled for later Saturday.