With a gold medal in the 800-meter freestyle race on Saturday, Bethesda native Katie Ledecky broke Michael Phelps’ record by winning her 16th individual victory in the World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
The 26-year-old tied Phelps’ record for most individual gold medals won in the World Swimming Championships with her 1500-meter freestyle victory Tuesday. She finished the 800-meter freestyle in eight minutes, 8.87 seconds, almost five seconds faster than the silver medalist, Li Bingjie of China.
Ledecky went to high school at the Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda and found a community within the swim team and the school in general.
“The whole Stone Ridge community is excited to continue to watch Katie make history, rooting for her as they have been since her first World Championship when she was barely halfway through her high school years at Stone Ridge,” said Andrew Maguire, Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart’s athletic director, said in an email to MoCo360.
Ledecky began her Olympic swimming career at 15 years old at the 2012 London Olympics. Throughout her Olympic competitions in 2012, 2016 and 2020, she won seven gold and three silver medals. She has said she plans to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
“It was special,” Ledecky told NBC Sports and Peacock after the race Saturday. “I’m happy with that swim. I wanted to be a little bit better [time-wise], but I’ll take it. I’m really pleased with how the week went.”
The race Saturday was Ledecky’s final competition in the World Championships. In total, she won two gold medals (800-meter freestyle and 1500-meter freestyle) and two silver medals (400-meter freestyle and 4×200-meter free relay) over the week.
“[Stone Ridge] is full of young Gators aspiring to climb to the top of their respective sports just like Katie, and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Maguire said in an email.